- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says illegal immigrants would not receive U.S. citizenship under his plan, but raised the possibility of some paying “back taxes” while reiterating that the “bad ones” will be sent out of the country.

“No citizenship,” Mr. Trump said at a Fox News town hall that aired Wednesday evening. “Let me go a step further: they’ll pay back taxes. There’s no amnesty, as such. There’s no amnesty.”

“Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out,” he said. “But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on [this] subject…and I’ve had very strong people come up to me - really great, great people come up to me, and they’ve said ‘Mr. Trump - I love you. But to take a person that’s been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out - it’s so tough, Mr. Trump.’”

“I have it all the time. It’s a very, very hard thing,” he said.

The notion that certain illegal immigrants would be allowed to stay in the country if they pay taxes and/or a fine and go through a process is a line that proponents of comprehensive immigration reform sometimes use to try to win support from more hardline conservatives.

Mr. Trump, whose proposals to crack down on illegal immigration have defined his presidential campaign in some ways, did reiterate his plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I think the height could be 35 to 45 feet - that’s a good height,” he said. “It could be higher.”

Mr. Trump also tried to get a clearer sense of what people want to hear on the subject, taking a few informal polls of the audience.

“So you have somebody that’s been in the country for 20 years, has done a great job. Has a job and everything else,” said.

“OK - do we take him and the family, or her or him or whatever, and send ‘em out and they’re gone?” he asked the audience.

“Or when somebody really has shown - you know, it’s called…the merit system, other than they did break the law in the first place,” he said. “And that’s a little unfair to people, but we’re going to let people come in anyway. They’ll come in legally. We’re going to let people come in anyway. It’s not going to have an impact.”

“Do we tell these people to get out, number one, or do we work with them or let them stay in some form?” he asked.

“So the bad ones, the gang members - what do you think?” he said. “Anybody disagree on the gang members?”

“So now we have the person - 20 years been an upstanding person. The family’s great, everyone’s great. Do we throw them out or do we work with them and try and do [something]?” he asked.

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