Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Mobile, Ala., on Friday. (Photo: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and his controversial immigration reform plan continued to dominate the conversation on Sunday morning’s political talk shows, as the Republican frontrunner vowed to deport millions of undocumented immigrants — including so-called birthright citizens protected by the 14th Amendment — without offering specifics on he would do it or how much it would cost.
According to the Pew Research Center, there were an estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2014.
“We have lost control of our country,” Trump said. “We’ve lost control of our borders. The government has no idea how many illegals [are here]. I’ve been hearing 11 million for five years. Then the other day I heard 30 [million]. Nobody has any idea.”
But when pressed for specifics on his plan — which would involve the processing of each undocumented immigrant at a total cost estimated to be between $400 billion and $600 billion, Trump dismissed the need.
“I’m telling you, it’s called management,” the real estate mogul said. “My specifics are very simple — I’m going to get great people that know what they’re doing, not a bunch of political hacks that have no idea what they’re doing. … They don’t know management. I get the best people and we will do it properly and we will do it humanely and get the good ones back in.”
“I still haven’t heard the specifics on how you’re going to do that,” Stephanopoulos said.
“Oh, you’ll hear it, George,” Trump replied. “Don’t worry about it.”
Trump greets supporters after his rally in Mobile, Ala., on Friday. (Photo: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Last week, Trump said the 14th Amendment — which guarantees citizenship to all people “born or naturalized in the United States,” including children whose parents came to the country illegally — is unconstitutional, telling Fox News, “It’s not going to hold up in court.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who last week seemed to indicate that he, too, was in favor of ending birthright citizenship, said on Sunday he has no plans to change the 14th Amendment.
“No,” Walker said when asked by Stephanopoulos if he would repeal or alter the amendment.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said birthright citizenship encourages illegal immigration.
“I think birthright citizenship as a policy matter doesn’t make sense,” Cruz said. “It doesn’t make any sense that our law automatically grants citizenship to their children, because what it does is it incentivizes additional illegal immigration.”
But Cruz wouldn’t say whether he would seek a change to the 14th Amendment as president.
“Any change in birthright citizenship, be it a statue or a constitutional amendment, will take many, many years,” Cruz said. “So the first priority should be securing the border, and we can do that with a president — unlike President Obama — who will actually enforce the law and get the job done.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Carly Fiorina said Trump is wrong on birthright citizenship.
“I don’t agree that we should be trying to amend the Constitution,” the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive said. “Even if you like that idea, the chances of getting a constitutional amendment passed, the chances of having the 14th Amendment overturned by the Supreme Court are extremely small.”
Fiorina continued: “If you have come here illegally and stayed here illegally, you do not have an opportunity to earn a pathway to citizenship — to legal status, perhaps, but there must be consequence.”
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — who currently sits in third place behind Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the latest Reuters/Ipsos national poll of likely GOP voters — dismissed reports that he called for using drone strikes to target illegal immigrants crossing the border.
“Read my lips,” Carson said. “I said there are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated. I’m not talking about killing people. In no way did I suggest that drones be used to kill people.”
Laci Lamb, 6, of Lucedale, Miss., looks at a sign before Trump’s speech in Mobile, Ala., on Friday. (Photo: Brynn Anderson/AP)
Trump’s immigration plan wasn’t the only topic of conversation for the 2016 Republican hopefuls on Sunday.
On “Meet the Press,” Fiorina, the only woman running for president on the GOP side, said she owes Hillary Clinton, who lost to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary, “a debt of gratitude.”
“She was the first serious woman candidate for president. We do owe her a debt of gratitude,” Fiorina said. “Liberal women have called my candidacy an offense to women, OK? Unlike liberal women, I celebrate every woman’s right to live the life she chooses.”
She continued: “There’s nothing inconsistent about me saying I admire Hillary Clinton in many ways, that we owe her a debt of gratitude in many ways, and also saying I do not think she should be president of the United States, and I will use all of my energy, as our nominee, to defeat her.”