Santorum: Trump's Immigration Plan Is One He Criticized Primary Opponents For Having

Gary Cameron / Reuters

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says Donald Trump’s immigration position is one that he criticized his Republican primary opponents for taking.

The former senator, who ran against Trump before dropping out after a poor finish in the Iowa caucuses, said Trump shifted from calling for mass deportations to a position of uncertainty for undocumented immigrants.

“It's a little bit nuanced from where he was, for sure,” Santorum said on the John Gibson Show on Friday. “I mean, the fact is that he is not saying everybody has to go. He is saying he's going to set priorities and focus on criminal aliens as opposed to a broader path. I think if you look at the particulars, half of the people who are here illegally are here on visa overstays. He said those people have to go home, and we know who they are, we know how to track them, we have their names, we probably have locations for all of them. I think it's a matter of enforcement, so that takes care of half the problem.”

“Then you’ve got a big chunk of folks who are illegals, and I think the area where he is backed out a little bit is on what we're going to do with those who came here illegally in the first place and have not committed any crimes,” he continued. “He's sort of left that question open. Yes, he did criticize people in the primary on that, but he's made a little bit of a shift in his policies. I don't necessarily agree with it, but that's the decision he's made.”

Trump said over the weekend that perhaps some undocumented immigrants could stay, but the Republican nominee has been sending mixed messages in recent weeks.

Santorum added, “Well, look, I think people who are in this country illegally should, unless you're in a job that is simply not being done—and those are in the agricultural area. In those cases, I would provide for a work permit. After that people should return home and come back in an orderly fashion.”

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