CNN’s Jake Tapper interviewed vice-presidential candidate Governor Mike Pence earlier today concerning Republican nominee Donald Trump’s policies on illegal immigrants and a host of other issues.
The Tapper/Pence interview, hosted by YouTube, began with Tapper showing a clip of Donald Trump speaking with MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough in November, 2015, about his plan to deport all illegal immigrants, thought to number near 11 million in the United States, “back to where they came” from.
Jake Tapper restated Donald Trump’s words that on “day one,” illegal and undocumented immigrants with criminal records will be deported.
The CNN host queried Pence concerning what would happen to the “rest,” referencing comments made in an Anderson Cooper/Donald Trump interview, conducted earlier this week, hosted by YouTube.
“My first day in office, I am going to notify law enforcement authorities that all of the bad dudes, and we have a lot of them, that are here illegally, that are the heads of gangs, and drug cartels, and all sorts of people,” Trump explained to Cooper seriously. “They’re out!”
“The police know who they are,” Trump continued, stopping Cooper from interrupting. “I’ve spoken to many police. The police know who they are. They deal with them all the time.”
Cooper then questioned Trump about the seeming “softening” of his stance, given that there are about 11 million “nonviolent” undocumented immigrants in the country. The CNN host asked what Trump’s plan was concerning them, and if there would be a “path to legalization.”
Trump disagreed that he was softening his stance on undocumented immigrants and stated that instead, he was “hardening” it.
“You know it’s a process. You can’t take 11 million [human beings] at one time, and just say boom! You’re gone,” Donald Trump lowered his voice.
Trump also cast doubt on the actual number of undocumented immigrants in the country, stating the real number could be as low as five million or as high as 30 million.
Jake Tapper questioned Mike Pence about what will happen to the “rest” of the undocumented immigrants in the United States, pegging the number near 11 million. The CNN host asked if there will be a “deportation force.”
Governor Pence replied by stating that “nothing” is changing in Donald Trump’s plans and that undocumented immigrants began at and remain at the center of his campaign’s policies. He described Donald Trump as being “absolutely consistent” and listed some policy goals toward addressing the undocumented immigrant issue. Pence reiterated that there would be “no path” to becoming a legal, naturalized citizen for illegal immigrants unless they leave the country first.
Pence also contrasted Trump’s plans with those of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, repeatedly calling attention to her plans to offer paths to “amnesty.”
Tapper then pressed Pence, pointing out that he had not received an answer as to what would happen to the estimated 11 million non-criminal undocumented immigrants presently in the country.
Again appearing to duck the question, Pence explained that Trump’s words on immigration were describing a “mechanism,” not a “policy” and that more would be announced at an upcoming event.
Tapper then pressed Pence again, explaining that he understood the Trump plan for violent undocumented immigrants, but that nothing substantive had been offered about the other 11 million non-criminal immigrants in the United States. Tapper listed Rush Limbaugh, Governor Sarah Palin, and other conservatives, not just the “liberal media,” as people who appear perplexed that Trump has no clear plan for how to handle his promise of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“Wow, it sounds like he’s really backing away from this deportation force, removing 11 million, and you’re not… pledging that there will be a removal of all undocumented immigrants. You’re not saying that,” Tapper continued to press Pence, mimicking what he envisions Trumps supporters may be thinking.
“No,” Pence answered clearly. He stated that there would be no legal path to citizenship for those currently in the United States illegally.
“What about the millions in the country right now,” Tapper insisted politely. “What happens to them?”
Mike Pence explained a belief that Donald Trump would “articulate” his plans for these people in the near future.
“But he already has articulated it,” Tapper said, becoming slightly exasperated.
Governor Pence responded with a list of the problems that he perceives the “flood” of undocumented immigrants being responsible for and its impact on regular Americans.
“That’s why I’m asking,” Tapper stated pointedly.
Pence again ducked Tapper, stating that Trump would “articulate” a plan in the near future. He also identified the media as having a noteworthy affinity for the subject.
“I don’t understand why it’s the fault of the media, for focusing on an issue that you’re crediting Donald Trump bringing to the fore,” Tapper explained patiently to Mike Pence.
Tapper went on to state, as Pence has emphasized, that a plan to deport “all” undocumented immigrants was a central part of the platform on which Trump won the Republican primaries. The CNN host appeared to find absurdity in the fact that Governor Pence could not confirm what Trump’s current policy is. He pointed out that there are only 72 days left until the election, yet Trump won’t be unveiling a central part of his major campaign policy for weeks.
Mike Pence called the way Tapper and CNN frame Trump’s policy position as “one thing.”
“We just ran the clip,” Tapper responded flatly.
The former Indiana governor then listed reasons why he believed Donald Trump would be a good president, citing his strong immigration stance and other factors.
“To be clear, you did not address the issue of whether or not there will be a deportation force removing the 11 or 12 million,” Tapper stated, moving the interview along to a different subject.
Donald Trump’s plan to deport “bad dude” illegal immigrants, without due process, leaves open the possibility that local police forces or even individuals in law enforcement could be emboldened to settle scores with nonviolent, non-criminal offenders under Trump’s plan. While Trump’s plan does not call for Philippine President Rodrigo Duerto-styled, due-process-free executions of “bad dudes,” the potential for hardworking, non-criminal undocumented immigrants to be caught up in “bad dude” sweeps, as has been suspected of some of the “drug dealers” executed without trial at the hands of the president of the Asian nation, would appear to be present.
[Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images]