Trump signals flexibility on immigration

By Philip Brasher

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, March 3, 2016 - Donald Trump signaled some flexibility on the immigration issue during the latest Republican presidential debate, going so far as saying it was acceptable for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to have negotiated on the 2013 reform bill. 

“Give and take is OK,” Trump said of Rubio's Gang of Eight talks. 

Trump refused during the Detroit debate to agree to ask The New York Times to release his off-the-record interview about immigration, and he also doubled down on his promise to force Mexico to build a border wall. But the real estate developer said that on immigration and other matters “there always has to be some … tug and pull.”

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He contrasted that with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz' refusal to compromise on issues like the government shutdown. Cruz "stood there for a day-and-a-half or something. In the meantime, what came of it? Nothing. You have to be able to have some flexibility, some negotiation," Trump said. 

Perhaps the most important development of the debate came at the end when Trump's opponents pledged to support him if he's the nominee, this after an historic day in which the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, denounced Trump as unfit for office. 

Trump, in turn, promised not to run as an independent. “Yes, I will,” he responded, when asked whether he would support the Republican nominee if it's not him.

Cruz and Rubio constantly teamed up to attack Trump's record and truthfulness, forcing him at one point to defend his hiring of foreign workers at his Florida resort property. 

“When you bring them in this way, when you bring someone in on one of these visas they can't go work for anybody else,” Rubio said. “They either work for you or they have to go back home. You basically have them captive, so you don't have to worry about competing for higher wages with another hotel down the street. And, that's why you bring workers from abroad.”

Cruz challenged Trump's assertion that he couldn't find Americans to do the jobs and asked the audience members to raise their hands if they had every worked as a waiter or waitress.

Trump strenuously defended his practices. “We want to hire as many Americans as we can, but they don't want part-time, very short part-time jobs,” he said. 

Trump also came under fire from Rubio for offshoring production of his Trump-branded clothing. Trump said he had no choice because of China's currency manipulation, and he doubled down on criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump called for gutting what he called the "Department of Environmental Protection" as a way to pay for the tax cuts he has proposed. "We are going to get rid are of it in almost every form. We're going to have little tidbits left but we're going to take a tremendous amount out," he said. 

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