From Rich Lowry writing at Politico:
Donald Trump’s rise in the polls is inextricably linked to the issue of immigration.
He probably wouldn’t have achieved liftoff without it, and now that his campaign has entered a new phase of semi-attempted seriousness, it is fitting that an immigration plan is the first policy proposal he has committed to paper.
There is no doubt The Donald is an accidental immigration hawk. After the 2012 election, he was scolding Mitt Romney for using the term “self-deportation” because it was too harsh. Trump’s journey is obvious: He made an inflammatory statement in his announcement speech — not quite realizing what he was getting into — and has followed the logic of the controversy to a full-throated immigration restrictionism.
His immigration plan has occasioned the predictable horror that he might pull the Republican field to the right on immigration, or that the other candidates might pander to him. Both are outcomes to be wished for, rather than avoided.
Amid the bar-stool bombast about deporting all illegal immigrants already here (a logistical, economic and humanitarian impossibility) and other characteristically Trumpian excesses is the core of a program that is more sensible than the “comprehensive” solution offered by the political establishment.
What Trump offers is an entirely different framework for considering the issue. It is populist rather than elitist, and nationalist rather than cosmopolitan. It rejects the status quo rather than attempting to codify it. It puts enforcement first and dares to ask whether current high levels of legal immigration serve the country’s interest. In short, it takes a needed sledgehammer to the lazy establishment consensus on immigration.