Giuliani’s comments come after Trump’s speech on immigration, which showed a totally different attitude from his pledge during the primary season, when the nominee promised to remove over 11 million undocumented immigrants from the United States.
Giuliani argued that Trump had indeed softened his stance on immigration, and pointed to an Associated Press headline written after a Trump campaign speech in Arizona that proclaimed “Trump retreats from vow to deport all living in US illegally.”
But while the Trump campaign has backed away from using the term “deportation” when talking about how they would handle the millions of immigrants who remain, they have very purposefully not ruled out the prospect of Trump’s proposed mass deportation either. Even if Trump abides by his latest promise to only remove convicted criminals—a figure he puts at 2 million—and those who have overstayed their visas, that would still constitute a deportation of millions of people.
Jake Tapper sought clarification about what happens to the millions of remaining non-criminal immigrants, and Giuliani proceeded to outline all of the ways the Trump campaign would deport millions of people.
“I just want to understand what you’re saying here. So Mr. Trump will not be trying to kick out the DREAMers, he will not be having a deportation force, and he would no longer want to get all 11 million undocumented immigrants out of this country?”
“What he said in the speech is, after we secure the border and after we remove the criminal illegal immigrants to a large extent — you’re never going to get to 100%— then and only then can we look at this in a very rational way in which we can look at all the options and be open to all the options.”
When pressed on specifics, like whether Trump would deport parents of children who were born in the United States, Giuliani suggested that Trump wouldn’t separate families. But almost immediately, he began waffling on what would constitute a deportable offense.
“It depends on the person,” he told Tapper. “Some of these people could have been on welfare for the last 30 years, or taking benefits, or cheating. And maybe some of them have to be thrown out. But not necessarily all of them.”
“Taking benefits” or “cheating” are very wide nets that could ensnare millions more undocumented immigrants who are otherwise law-adibing, tax-paying Americans. Would accepting in-state tuition—as undocumented immigrants can do in states like Kansas, Texas, and New York — constitute a benefit? Or receiving subsidized housing? Or getting emergency medical care?
Sometime after publication, the AP story that Giuliani cited changed its headline. It now reads “Trump vows to remove millions living in country illegally.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 4, 2016