A spokesman for Donald Trump told CNN’s The Situation Room host, Wolf Blitzer, that the planned border wall will help Mexicans deal with their own political problems, instead of exporting them to the United States.
“The only path to prosperity for Mexico is to create the conditions where the Mexican government has to produce stable conditions for their own people, not to rely on taking jobs and wages from Americans and shipping them back home,” Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller told Blitzer.
Blitzer cited President Obama’s complaint that putting a halt to such cross-border transfers of people and money would hurt “families,” presumably Mexican families.
“Well, I don’t want to be impolitic,” Miller responded, “but I will say it strikes me as one of the most ignorant things the President has ever said”:
Let’s be very clear on this point. Several decades of open-borders policies with Mexico have primarily helped two groups in Mexico: drug cartels that are terrorizing the country and corrupt politicians that have refused to implement social reforms, political reforms, economic reforms. If we continue the same policy of illegal immigration, Mexico is going to stay poor forever.
Blitzer also cited President Obama’s objections to the border wall, but Miller immediately pushed back.
“The President has spent too much time in recent years with very rich special-interests and not enough time with working Americans,” he said. “I can assure you the perspective of an unemployed construction worker — who hasn’t had a job in four [or] eight years — on enforcing our immigration laws, is quite a bit different than the President’s.”
Blitzer: Joining us now from New York, Steven Miller, senior adviser to Donald Trump. Steven, thanks for joining us. All right. You just heard the President call Donald Trump’s plan to compel Mexico to pay for a wall “half-baked.” How do you respond?
Miller: Well, I think it’s good evidence that the President has spent too much time in recent years with very rich special interests and not enough time with working Americans. I can assure you the perspective of an unemployed construction worker who hasn’t had a job in four, eight years on enforcing our immigration laws is quite a bit different than the President’s.
Blitzer: Donald Trump cites — he insists that of the $25 billion annually sent back to Mexico by Mexicans living abroad, he says the majority — this is Donald Trump — says the majority of that money comes from illegal aliens. His words. How do you arrive at that conclusion? Because the government accountability office says it’s difficult to track exactly how much money is being sent back to Mexico by undocumented workers here in the United States.
Miller: Well, first of all, regardless of the exact share, it would be more than enough to pay for the wall, but one way that you know that, of course, is just logic. If you have an illegal immigrant in the United States, the odds that they have family members back at home are much greater because under our chain migration green card system, if you’re here illegally, you can petition to bring your relatives in, and that’s one of the reasons why immigration has been so large.
Blitzer: The President also makes the point, a lot of other critics of Donald Trump make the point, if you were to do this, it would put enormous strain on families, rather than costing the Mexican government money. It would intensify the drive to convince Mexicans to cross that border into the United States; there would be even more undocumented immigrants in the United States. Your response?
Miller: Well, I don’t want to be impolitic, but I will say it strikes me as one of the most ignorant things the president has ever said. Let’s be very clear on this point. Several decades of open-borders policies with Mexico have primarily helped two groups in Mexico: drug cartels that are terrorizing the country and corrupt politicians that have refused to implement social reforms, political reforms, economic reforms. If we continue the same policy of illegal immigration, Mexico is going to stay poor forever. The only path to prosperity for Mexico is to create the conditions where the Mexican government has to produce stable conditions for their own people, not to rely on taking jobs and wages from Americans and shipping them back home.
Blitzer: As you know, critics say the release of these new details, this memo that was published today on the same day of the Wisconsin primary, they say it’s a diversionary tactic by the Trump campaign which is worried about how well you will do in Wisconsin tonight. Your reaction?
Miller: The only thing that this memo is diverting from is the focus of other campaigns on pointless issues and redirecting attention to the real concerns of the American people. Jobs, wages, and immigration is an issue we will always be happy to focus on.
Blitzer: A lot of people have been asking for details of this proposed wall — that the U.S. would build the wall, Mexico would pay for the wall — going back to when he announced back in June. So why was the decision made to release this document today?
Miller: Well, actually in our original immigration policy paper released this summer, we mentioned a few different ideas that are in this memo. We talked about remittences, we talked about visa fees, we talked about trade tariffs, we talked about canceling visas, if necessary, to apply leverage. There has been a plan all along to eventually spell out exactly how to implement each one of these things, and today seemed like a great day to go ahead and do that.
Blitzer: As you know, Wisconsin is an important state. The polls are going to close in a few hours. Donald Trump, your boss, is predicting a big surprise. So here’s the question: Do you think you will win?
Miller: I’m not prepared to make any predictions, but I do want to make a very important point, which is that Wisconsin is not a winner-take-all state, so we can continue to add to our delegate march to 1,237 just by winning one district, two districts, whatever it may be. So, it’s very important for people to keep in mind it’s not a winner-take-all, and we continue to get closer to 1,237, even if we pick up one or two districts.
Trump came in second behind Sen. Ted Cruz in Wisconsin’s primary.
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