Jim Harrington / September 2, 2015

No One Out-Trumps Donald Trump

GOP candidates have to do better with immigration.

What has Donald Trump’s candidacy done for the GOP presidential race? Well, beyond creating a spectacle, he has affirmed the legitimate anger of many grassroots voters. And he’s creating some awkward moments for the rest of the field.

Attitude and not-of-the-establishment credibility are key to his rise, but immigration is perhaps the central issue. As if to highlight that fact, the murder of Kathryn Steinle by an illegal alien in the sanctuary city of San Francisco brought the issue into stark relief. Her family is now suing San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the Bureau of Land Management, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Steinle’s death is among the most noted such cases, but there are hundreds of other citizens across the country assaulted and murdered by illegals. And if people start suing sanctuary cities and winning, it’s going to change policies.

Which brings us to the GOP presidential race, and Republicans eager to sound as tough as Trump.

On Sunday, The Hill reported, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is open to the idea of building a wall along America’s northern border with Canada.” That story was repeated in news outlets throughout the world.

But Walker didn’t exactly say it. The truth is that his full statement was intentionally skewed by the Leftmedia.

As the Washington Examiner explains, “Walker said in an interview … on ‘Meet the Press’ that he believes the northern border poses a legitimate security issue. As Walker started to elaborate on these concerns, his interviewer, Chuck Todd, asked whether he supports building a wall on the Canadian border.”

Walker’s reply was unclear due to crosstalk, but he said, “Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks. … So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.”

The “legitimate concerns” he meant were the ones he had mentioned moments earlier about the security of our borders in general. But suddenly — the Leftmedia tells us — he wants a wall on the northern border.

No doubt Walker should have been clearer. And therein lies the problem with trying to out-Trump Donald Trump. The Leftmedia’s just waiting to pounce on any “racist” or otherwise “offensive” comment from any Republican candidate.

Still, despite the risks, other candidates do continue trying to outdo Trump. Gov. Chris Christie is another example, with his suggestion that he would track immigrants like FedEx does packages.

“I’m going to have Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, come work for the government for three months. Just come for three months to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and show these people,” he said at a town hall meeting. “You go online and at any moment FedEx can tell you where that package is,” he elaborated. “Yet we let people come into this country with visas, and the minute they come in we lose track of them.”

It’s true that people with visas come into this country and just disappear. We have no idea where they are, and, in fact, they make up a large portion of the illegal population. Christie says we need to send someone to immigrants with expiring visas and say, “Time to go.”

Nearly half a million people enter the U.S. on visas annually, but short of outfitting each with an ankle bracelet, how does Christie propose to find any given one? This is a free country; people move about freely, and these people in particular want to avoid being caught.

More vexing, how can we track the hundreds of thousands who sneak into the country without visas each year? It’s true that a significant number get into legal trouble, and they can be deported. But at least for now, they can easily get right back in. FedEx can only track packages it knows exist.

After getting flack for his suggestion, Christie wanted to explain it, and Chris Wallace gave him the chance. His point is that private enterprise can do things better than government, which we all know is true.

But the lesson for Walker, Christie and every other politician in the GOP field is that, because they don’t have Trump’s attitude and style — never mind that most of them are elected politicians and he’s not — the reality-TV show “Keeping Up With Trump” is never going to play well for them.

While Hillary Clinton went off the rails with her Republicans-are-Nazis comments about shipping illegals out of the country in boxcars, such rhetoric plays well among lefties. Rand Paul, likewise struggling to handle a Trump-induced drop in the polls, thought one good Nazi allusion deserved another, so he’s mocked his fellow candidates for supposedly one-upping each other to the point that they’re saying, “I’ll put them in camps.”

Of course, Republicans have been called Nazis so often that it’s lost its bite.

Clinton and Paul don’t see the forest for the trees, however. Investor’s Business Daily reports on its latest poll on illegal immigration. It asked “913 adults coast to coast if they ‘support or oppose mandatory deportation of illegal immigrants…” Some 59% support deportation — and they support it across all income and educational levels, in both urban and rural areas, and across sex and age lines (with the exception of the 18-24 range).

Assuming the poll is even reasonably accurate, its findings pose a significant challenge for the GOP — except for Trump. It’s time for the party to rethink its immigration policy. Republican candidates don’t need to beat Trump at his own game, but they can surely devise an immigration policy that’s humane, equitable and upholds Rule of Law. It’s important to get started before Trump takes all the cards.

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