Sure, it could be coming. It’s not like Trump’s promises mean anything. But the big BuzzFeed story everyone’s talking about doesn’t prove it. Sure, it has a fun, attention-getting headline: In Reversal, Trump Indicates To Hispanic Leaders Openness To Legalization For Immigrants. Wowie! If you don’t read the body of a story, you’re likely to be shocked. But if you do, not so much:
In a Saturday meeting with his newly announced Hispanic advisory council, Donald Trump suggested he is interested in figuring out a “humane and efficient” manner to deal with immigrants in the country illegally, according to three sources. Trump, however, stressed that any new announcements will still be in line with the border security-focused approach that has invited intense opposition from Latinos and immigrants since he launched his campaign.
“He said people who are here is the toughest part of the immigration debate, that it must be something that respects border security but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner,” said Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration lawyer who sat in Trump Tower with other Latino supporters and Trump.
“The idea is we’re not getting someone in front of the line, we’re doing it in a legal way, but he wants to hear ideas of how we deal with 11 million people that are here with no documents,” said Jose Fuentes, who was chair of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic advisory committee in 2012, and attended the meeting.
In a statement, Steven Cheung with the Trump campaign dismissed the BuzzFeed News account of the meeting as “clickbait journalism” and disputed attendees’ claim that he opened the door to legalization behind closed doors.
“Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before, including in his convention speech—enforce the laws, uphold the Constitution, be fair and humane while putting American workers first,” Cheung wrote. “Today’s conversation was productive and enlightening, and Mr. Trump looks forward to speaking with these leaders again soon and often.”
I agree with Steven Cheung. I don’t see anything in there that says “legalization.” And indeed, further down in the story, we see that Trump didn’t even use the word:
Importantly, Trump did not explicitly use the word “legalization” at the meeting, but sources in the room said they feel it is the direction the campaign is going.
This story is about activists’ feelings, based on nothing objective? Stop the presses!
To the extent Trump said anything to encourage such feelings, I suspect it was more vintage Trump: giving a nod to both sides and letting people believe what they want. Master of Persuasion! Eight-dimensional chess!! The Dilbert guy probably has a 2000-word essay about it on his Dilbert blog.
Trump’s giving a big immigration speech Thursday. I think it will be Delphic; people will read what they want to read into it. I won’t watch it, or care about it, because Trump has proven that literally nothing he says can be relied upon. Plus I will be busy at work. But if you still think for some reason that his words matter, get them from him directly on Thursday, and not third-hand . . . laundered through activists and BuzzFeed (but I repeat myself).