Trump proposes sweeping limits on migrants

WASHINGTON • A sweeping immigration policy proposal released by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is an early Christmas to United States voters hungry for more restrictive immigration policies. But it is also a nightmare for Republican leaders working to entice Latino voters.

The blueprint is a comprehensive missive against pro-immigration US policies established by politicians who support, in Mr Trump's words, "amnesty, cheap labour and open borders", and "the corporate patrons who run both parties".

His core premise is that immigrants hurt Americans and the US economy.

It is Mr Trump's first policy paper and, fittingly, it is on the issue that catapulted him to front-runner status in the Republican field.

"Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first - not wealthy globetrotting donors," Mr Trump writes in the proposal released on Sunday.

The plan leaves no option except for mass deportation of the estimated 11 million people in the US illegally, which would cost some US$400 billion (S$562 billion) to US$600 billion to sustain, according to the conservative group American Action Forum.

"Trump has reignited the GOP's longstanding obsession with mass deportation," said Mr Pablo Manriquez, the Democrats' director of Hispanic media.

Mr Trump would also put an end to "birthright citizenship" - which is enshrined in the Constitution. He also seeks to slash legal immigration by imposing new burdens on employers that want to hire skilled foreign workers under the main guest-worker programme.

In contrast, the Chamber of Commerce and Silicon Valley are pushing to ease restrictions.

Mr Trump wants to make sure employers try to hire American workers first, with a "pause" on issuing green cards for foreign workers in order to make employers seek domestic labour.

And he has taken a strong departure from his party's rejection of the Iran nuclear deal, saying that, as president, he would not necessarily "rip up" the accord.

"I would police that contract so tough that they don't have a chance," the real estate mogul said on NBC's Meet the Press .

The Republican-controlled Congress is expected next month to vote against the deal, but the Republicans are unlikely to have enough support to overturn a subsequent veto by President Barack Obama.

Mr Trump made the comments even as he sounded a dismal note on the deal's eventual outcome and called US Secretary of State John Kerry, who worked to negotiate it, incompetent.

"Iran is going to be unbelievably powerful and unbelievably rich, and Israel is in big trouble," Mr Trump said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Trump proposes sweeping limits on migrants'. Print Edition | Subscribe