Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again Hardcover Donald Trump (2016)
IMMIGRATION: GOOD WALLS MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS
WHEN I ANNOUNCED MY candidacy I spoke for almost an hour, covering just about every challenge that we’re facing. But the subject that got the most attention was my focus on our immigration policy. Or, in fact, our lack of any coherent immigration policy. I was pretty tough on illegal immigrants, and a lot of people didn’t like that. I said that many countries are dumping their worst people on our border and that it has to stop. A country that doesn’t control its borders can’t survive—especially with what’s going on right now.
What I said only makes common sense. I speak to border patrol guards, and they tell us who we’re letting across our border. The countries south of us are not sending us their best people. The bad people are coming from places other than just Mexico. They’re coming from all over Central and South America, and they’re coming probably—probably—from the Middle East. Let me add now: Allowing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in the door will certainly bring a lot of problems. But we won’t know how bad, because we have no protection and we have no competence. We don’t know what’s happening. It’s got to stop, and it’s got to stop quickly.
Later in my announcement I added, “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build it very inexpensively. I will build a great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” I spoke for quite a while that day. I covered just about all the problems our country is facing. But what did the media report about that speech? “Trump is anti-immigration.” “Trump calls immigrants rapists.” “Trump is starting a war with Mexico.” You want to know why we aren’t solving our problems? Why nothing changes? It’s because we’re not facing the problems and taking action.
The flow of illegal immigrants into this country is one of the most serious problems we face. It’s killing us. But until I made that point during my speech, nobody was talking about it honestly. And instead of saying, “Trump’s right and we’d better do something to stop illegal immigration right now or we’re going to lose our country,” they said, “Oh, what a terrible thing Trump said about the nice people who live south of our borders. I hope they don’t get upset at us because of that. Maybe he’ll apologize.” I understand why that happened. It’s a lot easier to criticize me for being blunt than it is to actually admit this immigration situation is a dangerous problem and then to find a way to deal with it.
Let me state this clearly: I am not against immigration.
My mother emigrated to this country from Scotland in 1918 and married my father, whose parents had come here from Germany in 1885. My parents were two of the best people who ever lived, and it was millions of people like them who made this country so wonderful and so successful.
I love immigration.
Immigrants come to this country, they want to work hard, be successful, raise their kids, and share in the American dream. It’s a beautiful story. I can close my eyes and just imagine what my relatives must have been thinking when they sailed past the Statue of Liberty into New York and their new lives. And if they could only see the results of their risk and sacrifice! How can anyone not appreciate the courage it took for these people to leave their families and come here?
What I don’t love is the concept of illegal immigration.
It’s not fair to everyone else, including people who have been waiting on line for years to come into our country legally. And the flood of illegal immigrants coming across our borders has become a dangerous problem. We don’t protect our borders. We don’t know who’s here, but I bet wherever they came from knows that they are gone. Yet those governments do nothing to help us. The estimate is that there are 11 million illegal immigrants in America, but the fact is that nobody knows how many there really are. We have no way of tracking them.
What we do know is that some of those immigrants are a source of real crime. In 2011, the Government Accountability Office reported that there were three million arrests that could be attributed to the incarcerated alien population, including tens of thousands of violent criminals. There were 351,000 criminal illegal aliens in our prisons—that number does not include the crime of crossing our borders. It costs us more than a billion dollars a year just to keep these people in prison.
I understand that the vast majority of these people are honest, decent, hardworking people who came here to improve their own lives and their children’s lives. America holds so much promise, and what honest person wouldn’t want to come here to try to make a better life for himself and his children? But illegal immigration is a problem that must be confronted by the United States government who, in turn, must confront other countries. I feel as sorry for these individuals as anyone else does. Conditions in some of their countries are deplorable.
Nonetheless, illegal immigration has to stop. A country that can’t protect its borders isn’t a country. We are the only country in the world whose immigration system places the needs of other nations ahead of our own.
There is a word to describe people who do that: fools.
I have great respect for the people of Mexico. The people have tremendous spirit. I’ve been involved in deals with Mexican businessmen. But those businessmen aren’t the people the Mexican government is sending us. Too many people have forgotten the Mariel boatlift. In 1980, Fidel Castro told the Cuban people that anyone who wanted to leave Cuba was free to do so. President Carter opened our borders to anyone who came here. Except Castro was too smart for him. He emptied Cuba’s prisons and insane asylums and sent his biggest problems here. He got rid of the worst people in that country, and we were left to deal with them. More than 125,000 Cubans came here, and despite there being many, many great ones, some were criminals or had mental problems. More than thirty years later we’re still dealing with that.
Does anybody really believe that the Mexican government—for that matter, all the governments in South and Central America—didn’t get that message? The Mexican government has published pamphlets explaining how to illegally emigrate to the United States. Which makes my point—this is not about a few individuals seeking a better life; this is about foreign governments behaving badly and our own career politicians and “leaders” not doing their jobs.
And who can blame these foreign governments? It’s a great way for those governments to get rid of their worst people without paying any price for their bad behavior. Instead of putting these bad people in their prisons, they send them to us. And the bad guys are bringing the drug business and other criminal activity with them. Some of them are rapists, as a matter of fact, and as we have now seen in San Francisco, some of them are killers. The man who shot and killed a beautiful young woman had been pushed out of Mexico five times. He should have been in jail there, but instead they sent him here.
The price we’re paying for illegal immigration is enormous.
It has to stop.
The first thing we need to do is secure our southern border—and we need to do it now. We have to stop that flood, and the best way to do that is to build a wall. People say you can’t do it—how do you build a wall across the whole border?
Believe me, it can be done.
Nobody can build a wall like me. I will build a great wall on our southern border. It doesn’t have to cover the entire border. Some areas are already secured with physical barriers. In other areas the terrain is too difficult for people to cross. It’s probably about 1,000 miles we will need to secure with the new wall.
There are people who say it can’t be done, that it’s not possible to build a wall 1,000 miles long. Except beginning more than 2,000 years ago the Chinese built a wall that eventually stretched almost 13,000 miles that could never be breached. It was a combination of massive walls, impassible trenches and ditches, and rugged natural terrain, as well as an estimated 25,000 watchtowers. Believe me, our wall-building technology has improved a lot in 2,000 years. What we don’t have that the Chinese had is the commitment to do it. They understood the danger of leaving their border unprotected and they did something about it. We talk about it and do nothing.
Walls work. The Israelis spent $2 million per kilometer to build a wall—which has been hugely successful in stopping terrorists from getting into the country. Ironically, some of the same people who claim we shouldn’t build this wall cite the success of Israel’s wall. While obviously we don’t face the same level of terrorist threat as our closest Middle East ally, there is no question about the value of a wall in the fight against terrorism.
Many people don’t know that even Mexico has built its own wall on its southern border—to keep out illegal immigrants.
It wouldn’t even be that difficult. We already have a model: Yuma, Arizona, for example, built three walls separated by a 75-yard no-man’s-land that allows border agents to patrol within that area with their vehicles. They installed cameras, radio communications, radar, and a great lighting system. After it was built, the 120-mile-long stretch known as the Yuma sector saw an incredible 72 percent decrease in the number of people apprehended trying to get into this country illegally—and mine will be much better.
Construction of the wall needs to start as soon as possible. And Mexico has to pay for it.
Let me repeat that, one way or another: Mexico will pay for it.
How? We could increase the various border fees we charge. We could increase the fees on temporary visas. We could even impound remittance payments derived from illegal wages. Foreign governments could tell their embassies to start helping, otherwise they risk troubled relations with America.
If necessary we could pay for the wall through a tariff or cut foreign aid to Mexico or simply make it clear to the Mexican government that it is to the benefit of their very profitable—for them—relationship with the United States to pay for it.
But one way or another, they are going to pay for it.
I don’t mind putting a big, beautiful door in that wall so people can come in and out … LEGALLY.
The wall will be a good start, but by itself it won’t be enough. Without the wall, however, everything else is more of the same old big talk we hear from the politicians.
We’ve been trying to get this problem under control for more than 75 years. We’ve tried a lot of different solutions, and the result is that now illegal immigration is worse than ever. One of the solutions that did show promise was President Eisenhower’s attempt to deal with illegal immigration on our southern border, which had become known as the truly terribly named “Operation Wetback.” But even with that awful name the program was successful. It was a joint effort between the INS and the Mexican government. Special immigration teams were created to quickly process and deport illegal immigrants. One of the reasons it worked is that people who were caught were given to Mexican government agents, who moved them into central Mexico, where they could find jobs. In the first year, more than one million people were sent back.
What we need is the comprehensive program I have outlined that will enable us to get our immigration system under control. It starts with enforcing the existing laws. A country either has laws or it doesn’t. But having laws that we don’t enforce makes no sense to me. And in addition to keeping bad people from coming in, we’ve got to get the criminals out. When you break our laws you get thrown out. It’s simple. Why should we absorb the expense of keeping criminals in prisons? Let their countries of origin deal with the problems they sent us. If they refuse to take them back, we can stop issuing visas to those countries, preventing their citizens from legally visiting the United States.
I also would triple the number of immigration officers we currently employ until the wall is built. We are asking these people to do a job that would be difficult even if they had all the support they need, and they don’t. Think of it this way: Currently there are about 5,000 officers attempting to enforce the existing immigration laws against the more than 11 million illegal aliens. Compare that to the 10,000 members of the Los Angeles Police Department or the 35,000 officers in the New York Police Department. Since 9/11 we have tripled the size of the border patrol but haven’t substantially increased the number of ICE officers—the officers who enforce immigration laws.
The career politicians love to talk about having a nationwide “E-verify system” so potential employers will be able to determine who is here legally and eligible for work and who isn’t. Certainly, this will help protect the jobs for unemployed Americans. But let’s not kid ourselves. Our “leaders” must lead on this, and engage with foreign governments to stop illegal immigration, and not simply impose something on our businesses and think that some Internet verification system alone will solve the problem.
We have to cut off federal grants to sanctuary cities—those places that refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement and actually abet criminal behavior—we have to end them. I repeat, we either are a nation of laws or we’re not.
We also need to do what is necessary to enforce our visa regulations. People get a visa and come here legally, and when that visa expires, many stay here illegally. If they get caught, nothing happens to them. That’s got to change. We need to have real penalties for people who overstay their visas. I am sick and tired of hearing politicians who are all talk and no action. President Obama and his people are great at sending letters and press releases, but they never seem to have any consequences for foreign governments that don’t listen to them.
Most important is ending or curtailing so-called birthright citizenship, or anchor babies. American citizenship is an extraordinary gift. Its value over a lifetime can’t be measured. So the fact that the Fourteenth Amendment has been interpreted to mean that any child born in the United States automatically is an American citizen—and that baby can be used as an anchor to keep its family here—is the single biggest magnet attracting illegal immigrants.
The Fourteenth Amendment was never intended to be used that way. The original purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868, following the Civil War, was to guarantee all rights granted to citizens in the Constitution to freed slaves. No serious historian could possibly interpret any of the supporting language in the Congressional Record that the birthright citizenship was intended for anyone other than the freed slaves.
It wasn’t until 1898 that the Supreme Court ruled that, with certain specific exceptions, the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to the children of those lawfully here who gave birth on American soil. By a huge margin, Americans want to change that policy. Even Democrat Harry Reid admitted that “no sane country” would grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. It’s estimated that about 300,000 of these children are born here annually. That’s 300,000 children who are entitled to all the rights and privileges granted to American citizens because their mothers entered this country illegally by walking over the border for a day in the south or by flying in from another country under fraudulent documentation. There are businesses that specialize in making this happen! They call it “birth tourism”—pregnant foreign women travel to this country just so that they can give birth here to babies who then automatically become American citizens.
Citizenship is not a gift we can afford to keep giving away, and I will find a legal way of stopping this policy. A lot of really smart people and lawyers believe the Fourteenth Amendment was never intended to create a whole new path to citizenship. We’re going to test it every possible way. We will win in court and we will win in Congress.
I don’t want to stop legal immigration to this country. In fact, I would like to reform and increase immigration in some important ways. Our current immigration laws are upside down—they make it tough on the people we need to have here, and easy for the people we don’t want here.
This country is a magnet for many of the smartest, hardest-working people born in other countries, yet we make it difficult for these bright people who follow the laws to settle here.
It’s amazing that people who come here to earn a master’s degree and who demonstrate wonderful skills are forced to wait on a very long line when they want to stay and contribute to this country. In fact, for a lot of them, their number may never be called. Bright young kids come here from all over the world to study in our colleges. They get the best education in the world. They graduate with honors and we hand them a diploma and a plane ticket. Their mistake is that they are honest people—they follow the law. They want to stay here, but we send them back to their countries, and ultimately they use the knowledge they gained here to compete against us.
If you’re a criminal, though, or an unskilled worker, or someone escaping criminal charges in another country, you are able to sneak into our country and in many cases get some benefits and never leave. These “enforcement” policies and this backward approach to immigration have to change. Our immigration policy needs to work to make America great again.
My immigration policy is actually pretty simple. We need to make changes to our laws to make it easier for those people who can contribute to this country to come here legally while making it impossible for criminal elements and other people to get here illegally. I want good people to come here from all over the world, but I want them to do so legally. We can expedite the process, we can reward achievement and excellence, but we have to respect the legal process. And those people who take advantage of the system and come here illegally should never enjoy the benefits of being a resident—or citizen—of this nation. So I am against any path to citizenship for undocumented workers or anyone else who is in this country illegally.
They should—and need to—go home and get in line.
And you know who agrees with me? The Mexicans, the Chinese, and all the people from other countries who want to be here legally and can’t get a visa or fit into a quota, yet see millions of people living here illegally. They don’t understand how we can undermine our own interests.
If you have laws that you don’t enforce, then you don’t have laws. This leads to lawlessness.
We can be generous and do all of this humanely. But the security and prosperity of American citizens have to come first.
Our country, our people, and our laws have to be our top priority.