President-elect Donald Trump’s immigration adviser Kris Kobach warned Tuesday no one living here illegally will get a “free pass” and predicted many immigrants would leave as jobs and benefits “dry up.”
Kobach, one of the architects of Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB1070, made the statement on Fox News when he was asked what Trump plans to do about people who are illegally, but are working hard and are not regarded as criminals. Kobach reached back to the immigration speech Trump made in August in Phoenix, when there were thoughts then-candidate Trump might be easing his view on immigrants.
In that speech, Trump said “every person in this country has to follow American law. No person living here illegally gets a free pass, like they did under the Obama administration,” Kobach said.
“The jobs are going to dry up, the welfare benefits are going to dry up, and a lot of people who may not be criminal illegal aliens may decide, hey, it’s getting hard to disobey federal law, and may leave on their own,” he said.
The “self-deportation” idea has raised questions in the past about how far officials will go to “dry up” any benefits. It can create problems when applied to mixed status families, particularly when parents are illegally in the country but children are not.
Making life so difficult for immigrants that they return to their country of origin – self-deportation – is an idea that has been floated by many wanting to slow or halt immigration. Mitt Romney floated the idea in 2012 before losing his presidential bid.
“If you have not committed a crime you don’t have anything to worry about. His administration enters office Jan. 20 and will further define their policies and we’ll know more,” she said. “He has said there is going to be no task force that is going to hunt down undocumented people and he is going to focus on criminals, border security and sanctuary cities and employers using some meaningful form of E-Verify” to ensure workers are permitted to work here.
In an interview with “60 Minutes” over the weekend, Trump said he would deport or incarcerate probably 2 million to 3 million immigrants who he said are criminals. Then, once the border is secure, he would determine what to do about other undocumented immigrants in the country.