The shocking reality of Donald Trump’s plan to deport millions

Posted on by David Leopold

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

DALLAS, TX – SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty

It’s not clear what was the most shocking about Donald Trump’s rally Monday night in Dallas, Texas: his description of undocumented immigrants as part of a “dumping ground for the rest of the world,” or the reaction of the nearly all-white crowd who awarded his rhetoric with a standing ovation and chants of “USA, USA.”

One day – hopefully soon – when the presidential candidacy of Donald Trumpreaches its ignoble end, perhaps we’ll better understand how a real estate mogul-turned-reality TV star turned-politician could become the front-runner in the Republican primary. But for now, we must take Trump at his word: If elected president, he plans to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants – including their U.S. citizen children. What’s more, Trump claims he’ll do it all within 18 months to two years. It is, according to Trump, just a question of “good management.”

It is surprising, then, that as we head into the second Republican debate Wednesday night at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, that Trump’s brazen call for mass expulsion of all undocumented immigrants has largely escaped scrutiny in the media, either because he isn’t taken seriously or journalists are afraid of offending him and losing access. But now that the “summer of Trump” has turned into fall, it’s high time that someone call on Trump to explain what he means when he declares that undocumented immigrants “have to go.”

We’re left asking this question in 2015: How would Trump actually deport 11 million people in less than two years?

The leading GOP candidate is talking about ferreting out, arresting, and forcibly removing a population of men, women and children roughly the size of the state of Ohio. Setting aside the Constitution for the moment – something most of Trump’s immigration platform ignores – let’s imagine what a grand scale deportation would mean in real terms. It’s frightening, extreme – and decidedly un-American.

First there would be the rooting out of undocumented men, women and children throughout the entire United States. Department of Homeland Security enforcement agents would have to fan out all over the country looking for undocumented immigrants. Since many work in agriculture, we’d likely see agents combing through rural areas and small town America – places like Painesville and Findlay, Ohio.

We got a glimpse of what that would look like in 2008, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the Agriprocessors kosher meat packing facility in Postville, Iowa. Hundreds of armed ICE agents swooped into the town – population 2,000 – with helicopters and prison buses to arrest nearly 400 undocumented immigrants, most of whom were Guatemalan laborers. ICE then locked up the immigrants at the National Cattle Congress – which had been turned into a makeshift immigration prison – in nearby Waterloo, where they awaited criminal trials and deportation.

But Postville was just one small town in Iowa. Trump’s mass deportation plan would recreate that disturbing scene in every American community in all 50 states – every county, town and city. As Malcom Harris recently observed, “Sending an amped-up ICE on a mass-deportation mission wouldn’t just be an assault on undocumented people and their families, it would be an attack on American cities, where more than 90 percent of them live.”

Trump’s deportation dragnet would likely start by wreaking havoc on the lives of millions of U.S. citizens. To find undocumented immigrants, immigration enforcement agents would have to whittle down who they question about their immigration status, and that would include interrogating U.S. citizens. Further, because so many undocumented immigrants are part of mixed immigration status families, Americans would be put in the untenable position of having to decide whether to stay in their country, separated from their loved ones facing deportation, or leave the U.S.

In Trump’s America, where the newly inaugurated president would seek to make good on his campaign promise to deport 11 million people within 2 years, what would happen to core American values including family, hard work, community and fairness?

Would our citizens be coerced into becoming immigration informants? Would Americans rat on their neighbors, friends or relatives out of a misguided feeling of patriotism or, perhaps worse, vengeance and retribution? Would undocumented women, children and elderly be exposed to abuse by those who would take advantage of Trump’s deportation machinery to extract control, money or other unspeakable forms of abuse under threat of being exposed to homeland security agents?

Would non-white American citizens and lawful residents be at greater risk of stop, arrest and investigation based on their manner of dress, accent or skin color? And what about unscrupulous employers? One of the strongest arguments in favor of comprehensive immigration reform is that a pathway to earned legal immigration status will reduce workplace exploitation, including sweatshop wages and sexual abuse. One can only imagine the horrible price a corrupt employer might extract from an undocumented immigrant who is desperate to avoid deportation and separation from her family.

Even if Trump were elected president, he would not be able to fulfill many of his draconian promises on immigration – including mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants. Trump’s ugly agenda assumes there is no Constitution, no separation of powers, and no checks and balances which would prevent him from carrying out mass expulsion of undocumented immigrants. Nevertheless, the media has a professional and ethical obligation to the American people to press Trump for specifics on how he would implement his stated immigration agenda, so that voters know exactly what they’d be signing up for if they accept Trump’s offer to “make America great again.”

Tomorrow night in Simi Valley would be a good time to start.

David Leopold practices immigration law in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Let’s remember what Ronald Reagan said about #immigration

Reagan understood that America’s strength is its openness: its celebration of creativity and new ideas.  We can only hope that those who claim his legacy heed his lesson. We are a welcoming nation, and it’s our job to put a human face on all of the immigrants who grace our shores, no matter how they got here.

USCIS announces important changes to green card application process

Updated 9/12/15

New Immigrant Visa Application Procedures

As part of President Obama’s executive actions the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Department of State have been working to streaHow-to-obtain-a-green-card-by-PERMmline the family and employment-based immigrant visa processes. Now applicants with approved immigrant visa petitions who are subject to backlog will, under specified circumstances, be able to file their adjustment of status (green card) applications BEFORE their priority dates are current.  This is significant because this will allow backlogged applicants to port to new employers and file for employment authorization and advance parole.

The USCIS has posted a Fact Sheet on its website entitled “When To File Your Application For Family-Based or Employment-Based Immigrant Visas” which describes the new procedure in detail.

New Visa Bulletin Charts

The Visa Bulletin will now have two different charts because of the revised procedures. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).
When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the Dates for Filing Applications chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. Otherwise, the Application Final Action Dates chart must be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.

In coordination with the DOS, USCIS will monitor visa numbers each month and post the relevant chart on this page under When to File.

PLEASE NOTE: This information is posted solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. Transmission of this information does not create, and receipt by you does not constitute, the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any on-line readers should not act upon any information contained in this post without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney. For more information please contact our office at 216.696.4676.

A Lawyer Debunks 2016 GOPers’ Most Extreme #Immigration Ideas

But rather than call out Trump for his xenophobic, nativist and racist demagoguery, the other GOP White House contenders have instead settled into a shameful pattern of trying to out-Trump Trump. Instead of developing serious immigration policy solutions—something the vast majority of Americans favor—Trump’s Republican presidential rivals have lurched to the extreme right offering absurd and irresponsible ideas in an effort to outmaneuver the GOP frontrunner.

The newest ridiculous proposal came over the weekend from Chris Christie speaking at a New Hampshire Town Hall event. Christie suggested tracking noncitizen visitors like courier packages. According to the New Jersey governor it’s all quite simple, “You go online and at any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is…Yet we let people come into this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them.” Christie didn’t elaborate with details, so it’s not clear whether he intends to put barcodes on tourists’ backs, chips in the necks of business visitors or GPS trackers on the foreheads green card holders. I guess we’ll have to wait for his written policy proposal.

Beyond being a really dumb idea, Christie’s FedEx immigrant tracking system shows that the former federal prosecutor is also profoundly ignorant of U.S. law and policy. The Department of Homeland Security already collects biometric data—including digital images and fingerprints—from nearly every noncitizen entering the U.S. at air and sea ports. The tracking is even more intensive for other visitors including students and exchange visitors. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, for example, tracks and monitors foreign students after they arrive and throughout their studies in the U.S. Those who fail to show up for school are routinely arrested and detained by ICE agents who are alerted by the tracking system. The bottom line is that while it remains a work in progress, our visitor tracking has already advanced significantly since 9/11. Christie’s plan goes beyond common sense and treats people like inanimate objects.

The other problem for Christie is that tracking a person’s every move probably violates the Constitution. Earlier this year, in Torrey Dale Grady vs. North Carolina, the Supreme Court made clear that if the government puts a GPS tracker on someone—whether they’re a citizen or not—it constitutes a search protected by the 4th Amendment.

But don’t tell that to Donald Trump, Chris Christie or the other GOP presidential candidates. They’ve already proposed to eviscerate the 14th Amendment, the cornerstone of American civil rights that ensures due process and equal protection to all persons. The Republican politicians might be tempted to propose shredding the entire Constitution which, it seems, gets in the way of some of their most repugnant ideas.

Not to be outdone by Christie’s FedEx immigrant tracking system, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker—who used to be a pro-immigrant conservative before he became an anti-immigrant nativist—has made the ludicrous claim that building a border wall between the U.S. and Canadais a “legitimate” idea. He also made the unsubstantiated assertion that “Islamic extremists” are flooding the U.S. Mexico border.

Putting aside for the moment that for most of the year much of the 5,525 mile U.S. Canadian border is a frozen mass of snow and ice, there is little evidence that hordes of Canadians (or anyone else) are illegally sneaking over the border. But even if there was, why stop at building the wall at the northern border? If it’s true that about 40 percent of the undocumented immigrant population arrived in the U.S. legally on visas but overstayed, as Chris Christie claimed in New Hampshire over the weekend, then many of the undocumented immigrants probably arrived on airplanes. So why not build walls around our airports too? It might put a crimp in the take-off and landing part of U.S. and international aviation, but it’s sure to keep out illegal immigrants—along with business people, investors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and anyone else who adds to the fabric of our nation.

It would be unfair to leave out Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who was on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday insisting that “immigrants come here legally, learn English, adopt our values, roll up our sleeves and get to work.” When asked what he meant by “adopt our values” Jindal pointed to the example of immigrants in Europe who do not integrate into the cultures of their adopted countries. Jindal—who is a U.S. citizen because of birthright citizenship but now opposes birthright citizenship—didn’t mention that unlike the U.S. many of those countries do not have birthright citizenship and, therefore, many immigrants to Europe are not able to fully integrate into the cultures of their adopted countries.

Jindal also failed to point that American law already requires that immigrants learn to speak, read and write English to become citizens. Aspiring Americans are also tested on their knowledge of U.S. history and government. Maybe politicians like Jindal should also be required to take the citizenship test before they can run for president. The first question is “What is the supreme law of the land? The answer is “the Constitution.” The test might prove to be a more efficient way to narrow the field of presidential contenders.

Nothing that’s been proposed by Trump or those who try and mimic him will do anything to build a safe, orderly and fair immigration system. Whether it’s building a wall, mass deportation, eviscerating birthright citizenship, attacking DREAMers or tracking people like packages, none of the anti-immigrant proposals put out by Trump or the other GOP candidates will solve the problem of 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., working hard, paying taxes and raising children. Nor will anything Trump or his GOP rivals have proposed fix the broken visa system so that it meets the needs of American business, creates American jobs, and keeps America globally competitive.

At some point Trump may have to answer for his hateful rhetoric and preposterous immigration policy proposals. But unless someone in the GOP finds the guts to forcefully stand up to his demagoguery rather than follow his lead, the Republican Party risks being branded the Party of Trump for years to come.

David Leopold practices immigration law in Cleveland. He is past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Two Republican visions of America

“[I]n my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And (if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here). That’s how I saw it, and see it still”

President Ronald Reagan 1989

“We’re building a wall. It’s going to be a wall that is not — nobody’s going through my wall.”

Donald Trump 2015

PRESS CALL: Citizens, Immigrants and Legal Experts Respond to GOP’s Support for Ending Birthright Citizenship

For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                     Contact: Katy Green

August 20, 2015                                                                                                                                     650-464-1545

**** PRESS CALL ****

Friday, August 21st at 12:15pm ET
DIAL: 800 329 0864; Passcode: CITIZENSHIP


Citizens, Immigrants and Legal Experts Respond to GOP’s Support for Ending Birthright Citizenship

Bad Politics, Terrible Policy, and Disastrous for the Country 

Washington, DC – Following the Republican Party’s swift rightward lurch on the concept of birthright citizenship (enshrined in the Constitution they claim to revere), U.S. citizens, immigrants and legal experts are speaking out about the dangerous of pursuing this policy.

On a press call Friday at 12:15pm ET, children of undocumented immigrants will join Ricardo Aca, DACA recipient who works at the Trump Hotel, and legal expert David Leopold to respond to the latest stream of anti-immigrant demagoguery; unpack what repealing the 14th amendment really means; and explain the broader political implications for the Republican Party as they continue to question the citizenship of voting age Latinos.


WHAT:           Citizens, Immigrants and Legal Experts Respond to GOP’s Support for Ending Birthright Citizenship

WHEN:            Friday, August 21st at 12:15pm ET

WHO:                Girsea Martinez, Member of United We Dream and U.S. Citizen Child of Undocumented Parents

Ricardo Aca, DACA recipient who works at the Trump Hotel in Soho

Hina Naveed, DREAMer and Organizer for the Staten Island Dream Coalition (Hina’s little sister is a U.S. Citizen)

David Leopold, Immigration Attorney and Past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association

Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director for America’s Voice

DIAL-IN INFO: 800 329 0864; Passcode: CITIZENSHIP

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on twitter @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice. 

America’s Voice – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform 

United We Dream Action (UWDA) is a powerful nonpartisan network led by immigrant youth across the country. UWDA educates the public and promotes public policies and programs which advance the cause of dignity of all immigrants.  More information about UWDA and our sister organization, United We Dream at


For Immediate Release                                                                      Contact: Monica Reyes

Thursday, August 20, 2015                                                                                641-229-1419


DREAM Iowa Responds to Racist Iowa Radio Host: “Offensive, Dehumanizing and Plain Immoral”  

Mickelson’s Support for “Enslaving” the Undocumented Offers Fresh Reminder for Why #UniteIowa Forum on Immigration is So Important

STORM LAKE, IOWA – Yesterday, Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson reinforced his strong support for “enslaving” undocumented immigrants if they don’t leave the United States within a certain amount of time.

Per Joe Strupp of Media Matters:

“Influential Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson — whose show is a frequent destination for Republican presidential candidates — is standing by his plan to make undocumented immigrants ‘property of the state’ if they refuse to leave the country after an allotted period of time. In comments to Media Matters, Mickelson described his plan as ‘constitutionally defensible, legally defensible, morally defensible, biblically defensible and historically defensible.’…

“’All you have to do is put up a sign on the border,’ Mickelson said. ‘Just put up a sign that says ‘After 60 days from this date certain if you’re in the state of Iowa and you are here without legal status and you are criminally in the state of Iowa, you will become the property of the state and we will compel labor from you because you are a criminal and the 13th Amendment allows us.’’”

Following is a response from Monica Reyes, Co-founder of DREAM Iowa, a DACA recipient who grew up in rural Iowa:

“To say Mickelson’s comments are beyond the pale would be the understatement of the century.  His comments are offensive, dehumanizing and plain immoral.  To suggest enslaving me and my family is not just a personal attack; it’s a fresh reminder of one of the darkest times in our nation’s history.  This is degradation in its purest form.

“At the same time, it’s this sort of hateful, racist rhetoric that’s driving me to participate in the #UniteIowa Presidential immigration forum next week.  We’re sick and tired of the divisive rhetoric and hateful demagoguery of immigrants on the campaign trail.  Let’s start a civil, thoughtful conversation on immigration reform that’s driven by finding solutions, not scapegoating communities.”

The #UniteIowa presidential candidate forum on immigration will take place in Storm Lake, IA on August 29th.  Hosted by Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register, the event will feature leaders from across Iowa on all sides of the immigration issue, including Democratic presidential candidates, Governor Martin O’Malley and Governor Lincoln Chafee. All presidential candidates have been invited to attend.  More info, including how to register for press credentials, is available at

Why aren’t the other GOP candidates standing up to Trump and his #hatespeech?

Donald Trump’s cynical appeal to Americans’ worst instincts is shameful. But what’s more shameful is that the other GOP contenders don’t have the guts to stand up to his hateful rhetoric, whether its hate speech aimed at Latinos (Mexicans in particular), Women, War Heroes or others. Jeb Bush hasn’t even defended his own wife’s Mexican-American heritage and is now using the despicable term “anchor babies” to describe American children born in the U.S.  Bobby Jindal, who is an American citizen only because of Birthright Citizenship opposes Birthright Citizenship. And now, Ben Carson, the “smart guy” in the class, is talking about using drones at the border to stop illegal immigration–forget the fact that the border is secure and illegal immigration is at it’s lowest point in 40 years.

Most experts say that there’s little chance Trump will be the GOP nominee. But most experts also thought he was finished when he went after John McCain’s war record. Or when he claimed Megyn Kelly was mean to him because she was menstruating. Yet Trump’s dominance in the GOP race has not changed. He’s remains the clear Republican front runner and the face of the party.  And now others in the GOP pack–Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal–are veering sharply to the right to compete with him.

This is no joke.

In #Immigration Executive Action Case, Arpaio Loses, Obama and Immigrants Win

Posted by America’s Voice

US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Dismisses Arpaio’s Arguments as “Unduly Speculative”

Today the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.  Arpaio had sued President Obama claiming that the DACA expansion and DAPA programs were beyond his authority and would cause harm to Maricopa County.  The Appeals Court ruled in favor of the Obama Administration, concluding that Arpaio lacked “standing” – meaning his claims of harm were “unduly speculative.”

This is one of four cases before the appeals courts.  The case that has received most of the attention is the Texas lawsuit in which Judge Hanen of Brownsville, TX enjoined the programs from going forward. It is now on appeal and awaiting a decision by the 5th Circuit.  The other two cases of note: the Crane case regarding the original DACA that was brought in Mississippi by immigration enforcement agents, which has been dismissed by the 5th Circuit; and the Arizona Dream Act Coalition case, in which the 9th Circuit has ruled against Arizona’s attempts to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients, a case now being appealed by the state of Arizona to the 9th Circuit Court.

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 29:  Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio attends the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC, which is scheduled to conclude August 30.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The following is a statement by David Leopold, former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a leading expert on immigration law and policy:

Today’s decision by the District of Columbia Appeals Court dismissing Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s challenge to DAPA and DACA expansion, the President’s executive actions on deportations, is a victory for the rule of law and a solid rebuke to Arpaio’s challenge to DAPA and DACA expansion. The Court’s opinion underscores that the Administration’s use of deferred action to temporarily shield undocumented parents and DREAMers is unquestionably legal—and has been used by Administrations of both parties since the 1960s. The opinion shows what happens when judges leave their politics outside the courtroom and make decisions based on the law.  We can only hope that the judges of the 5th circuit Appeals Court in New Orleans will also do the right thing and dismiss the equally meritless political lawsuit filed by the GOP before Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas.  But if the 5th circuit fails to do so—and creates a conflict with the D.C. circuit decision in the Arpaio case—chances are now much higher that U.S. Supreme Court will make the final decision on DAPA and DACA expansion.

READ: the DC Circuit’s opinion in Arpaio vs. Obama, dismissing Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s suit against #immigration executive actions

View the court’s opinion here –>Arpaio v Obama PACER doc 1567834 opinion

Anti-immigrant debate shows GOP still hasn’t learned from 2012 defeat

Republican presidential candidates from left, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Republican presidential candidates from left, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Posted on by David Leopold

On November 7, 2012, the idea of Republicans embracing comprehensive immigration reform was a no-brainer. That was the day after Mitt Romney got hammered by Hispanic voters who rejected his candidacy for president by a 44 point margin.

GOP leaders stunned by the major electoral smackdown couldn’t get to fixing the immigration system fast enough. “While I believe it’s important for us to secure our borders and to enforce our laws,” Speaker John Boehner said the next day, “I think a comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I’m confident that the president, myself, others, can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

Fast forward to last night in Cleveland.

“We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly,” Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump declared to resounding applause. Sadly, and dangerously for the GOP, that’s what has become of the party’s official platform on immigration.

There were 10 Republican hopefuls on stage last night. Not one took issue with Trump’s ludicrous contention that the immigration problems in the United States can be solved by building a wall. Not one pointed out that illegal immigration has fallen to its lowest levels in 20 years and that the nation’s undocumented population has dropped by 1 million since 2007. And, sadly, not one offered a detailed, thoughtful policy proposal in response to Trump’s doubling down on his hateful message about Mexican immigrants.

To the contrary, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is by many considered a thoughtful, moderate presidential contender, pandered to Trump on immigration, declaring that he “is touching a nerve because people want the wall to be built. They want to see an end to illegal immigration. They want to see it, and we all do. But we all have different ways of getting there. And you’re going to hear from all of us tonight about what our ideas are.”

To be fair, some Republican candidates alluded to fixing the immigration system, but only after “securing the border” – which has become more nuanced politician-speak for “we’ll never do immigration reform because we can always claim the border is not secure enough.” Jeb Bush, who’s gone further than any of his GOP rivals in suggesting he’d support comprehensive immigration reform, reiterated his support for some sort of “earned legal status” for undocumented immigrants, but was disappointingly short on specifics.

Unfortunately, despite Kasich’s promise earlier in the evening, none of the GOP candidates outlined serious proposals to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.

Nor is the GOP’s failure on immigration confined to the presidential candidates. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared yesterday that there would be no immigration reform this year, claiming that “the atmosphere for dealing with that issue in the wake of” President Obama’s executive actions on deportations “is not appropriate” – a position that makes little sense given that Obama’s executive immigration actions have been enjoined by a federal judge at the request of GOP governors and attorneys general.

The refusal to embrace or even talk about comprehensive immigration reform demonstrates a major disconnect with Republican constituents across the country. Despite the hard-line presidential campaign rhetoric, recent polling shows the GOP candidates are at odds with the majority of their voters. Recent polling has found 53% to 55% of Republican voters favor some sort of path to earned legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. That means that most Republicans are ultimately pragmatic; they want immigration policy solutions, not pandering to the extremists in the party.

The takeaway is clear: When it comes to immigration, the GOP candidates didn’t do the party’s eventual nominee any favors last night. It’s one thing to veer to the right during a Republican presidential primary to capture the base of the party. But the GOP presidential hopefuls – including real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump – would be wise to heed the words of Katie Packer Gage, Romney’s 2012 deputy campaign manager, who recently cautioned the GOP not to repeat her former boss’s mistake on immigration. Romney’s championing of the mean-spirited, inhumane and unworkable policy of “self-deportation” may have helped earn him the support of party extremists, but it drove him over the cliff in the general election.

David Leopold practices immigration law in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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