STAHL: So let's go through very quickly some of the promises you made and tell us if you're going to do what you said or you're going to change it in any way. Are you really going to build a wall?TRUMP: Yes.STAHL: They're talking about a fence in the Republican Congress, would you accept a fence?TRUMP: For certain areas I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I'm very good at this, it's called construction.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a prominent Donald Trump surrogate, told NPR last week what Americans should expect from the president-elect when it comes to immigration. "He'll spend a lot of time controlling the border," the Republican said. "He may not spend very much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it. But it was a great campaign device."In this sense, "campaign device" appears to be some kind of euphemism for "ugly campaign promise the candidate had no intention of keeping." Trump wasn't telling the truth, but he fooled a bunch of unsuspecting voters into believing his vows anyway -- which Gingrich sees as "great."Of course, on this issue, Trump also relied on a variety of other "campaign devices" his followers took quite seriously, including the creation of a "deportation force," the elimination of protections for Dream Act kids, and the construction of a massive wall along the U.S./Mexico border. Does he intend to keep these promises? CBS's Lesley Stahl asked about immigration during Trump's "60 Minutes" interview, which aired last night.
Well, it's certainly called something, though "construction" may not be the first word that comes to mind.When Stahl asked about Trump's "pledge to deport millions and millions of undocumented immigrants," he replied that he'd focus on deporting those with criminal records -- as President Obama has done -- which Trump believes could total 2 million to 3 million people.He added, "After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we're going to make a determination on the people that you're talking about who are terrific people, they're terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that. But before we make that determination, Lesley, it's very important, we want to secure our border."By all appearances, Trump, who's never actually taken the time to learn about the issue, has no idea that border security is already at an all-time high -- and that he can only kick the can on other "determinations" so long.As for Congress' take on all of this, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the other day that he and Trump are "on the same page" on the issue, including the need for "physical barriers" along the border.Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), generally a fierce opponent of government spending, added that Congress would find the necessary funds to pay for Trump's border wall, which experts believe would cost tens of billions of dollars.* Update: During the Republican presidential primaries, Trump insisted "there's a big difference" between building a border wall and building a border fence. His plan, Trump argued at the time, would be the former, not the latter.