Conservatives gush over Trump's draconian immigration plan: "An early Christmas gift to conservatives"

Trump's plan to overturn the 14th Amendment and round-up undocumented immigrants is GOP red meat

By Sophia Tesfaye

Published August 17, 2015 2:40PM (EDT)

Donald Trump                      (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)
Donald Trump (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

Donald Trump released the highly-anticipated details of his campaign's immigration reform plan this weekend and his extreme anti-immigration platform was met with as much excitement from right-wing conservatives as he received from giddy children awaiting their turn to ride aboard his helicopter at the Iowa State Fair.

Trump's "plan" includes many familiar conservative positions, including a nationwide E-Verify program, enhancing penalties for those who overstay their visas, the mandatory deportation of criminal undocumented immigrants, a crackdown on so-called "sanctuary cities," and of course, a giant wall. Trump outlined his three key immigration principles in a six page plan that he promised would "make America great again":

1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.

2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.

3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

Make Mexico Pay For The Wall

But it's Trump's suggestion that we amend the Constitution that is by far the most extreme element of his plan. Native-born children of immigrants — even those living illegally in the U.S. — have been automatically considered American citizens since the adoption of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution in 1868. Trump’s plan would deny citizenship to the babies born to undocumented immigrants. Trump told NBC's Chuck Todd this weekend that he thought it was wrong that undocumented immigrants "have a baby, and all of a sudden nobody knows the baby's here."

“They’re illegal ... they have to go,” he declared coldly.

Perhaps because of its draconian nature, Trump's plan was revealed to much conservative fanfare.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, chair of a Senate subcommittee on immigration, consulted with Trump on the plan and endorsed the finally product as "exactly the plan America needs." Sessions applauded Trump's plan, writing in a statement, "Crucially, this plan includes an emphasis on lifting struggling minority communities, including our immigrant communities, out of poverty, by preventing corporations from bringing in new workers from overseas to replace them and drive down wages.”

Ann Coulter called Trump's six page plan the "greatest political document since the Magna Carta":

Coulter explained that she found Trump's extreme plan so good that she didn’t care if Trump “wants to perform abortions in the White House after this immigration policy paper”:

Conservative columnists Byron York cited a recent academic paper to argue that the majority of Americans' views on immigration are closer to Trump's than to those seeking comprehensive immigration reform:

But are Trump's views on immigration as far out of the mainstream as Graham suggests? Are they out of the mainstream at all? A recent academic paper, by Stanford professor David Broockman and Berkeley Ph.D candidate Douglas Ahler, suggests a majority of the public's views on immigration are closer to Trump's than to the advocates of comprehensive immigration reform.


a majority of Americans — not just Republican voters, but all Americans — hold views that are consistent with Trump's position, or are even more restrictive. Opponents like Graham portray Trump's immigration position as far out of the mainstream, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

And on Fox News, "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy praised Trump's plan as a "remarkable political document" and an "early Christmas gift to conservatives who have looked at the immigration problem in this country and said can't anybody do anything":

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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