Donald Trump rode a hard line on illegal immigration to the Republican presidential nominee, calling for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and mass deportations. But he opened a crack in that wall Wednesday night.
When asked by a Democratic-leaning military member whether he would allow an illegal immigrant serving in the military to stay in the U.S., contrary to his vows to make deportations a priority, the Republican presidential nominee said he would.
“I think that when you serve in the armed forces, that’s a very special situation, and I could see myself working that out, absolutely,” Mr. Trump said at the MSNBC veterans-issues forum involving himself and rival Hillary Clinton.
When pressed, Mr. Trump elaborated that this exception to his deportation plans would also apply to illegal immigrants who “plan on” joining, though he said “we have to be very careful” with vetting them.
The Pentagon currently has a limited form of such a policy, allowing illegal immigrants who are deemed to bring special skills (e.g. needed languages) to serve, which puts the person on a quick path to citizenship.