Congressman challenges Trump's 'they have to go' policy

Henry Cuellar: Billionaire taps into anger, frustration


SAN ANTONIO – Billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump laid out his immigration policy Sunday when he told “Meet the Press” undocumented adults and children must be deported.

Asked what if they had no place to go, Trump said, “We will work with them. They have to go. We either have a country or we don’t have a country.”

Henry Cuellar of Laredo, who represents the 28th Congressional District, said it would be like deporting an entire state.

Cuellar said, “Do I believe in immigration reform? Yes. But do I believe in some of these extreme positions? The answer is no.”

However, he said immigrants with felony convictions are a different story.

“I don’t want to see them here,” Cuellar said.

The congressman said he disagrees with Trump’s idea to abolish the Constitution’s 14th amendment that grants citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the U.S.

Cuellar asked, “If somebody is born here, they’re not a U.S. citizen?”

He said it may sound good to some, but every effort so far to do away with birthright citizenship has failed since 2011.

“Is it impractical? Yes. Is it the right thing to do? No, it is not,” Cuellar said.

He said repealing the amendment would require a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the nation’s state legislatures.

“That’s very, very hard to do. I don’t see it,” Cuellar said.

Trump also has said he wants Mexico to pay for more fencing along with southwest border.

Cuellar said that’s not likely, especially since an estimated $1.3 billion in trade cross daily between the two countries.

“We’ve got to understand there’s a lot of trade between the U.S. and Mexico,” Cuellar said. “It’s going to increase every day.”

However, Cuellar said Trump’s campaign has touched a raw nerve among voters over the stalemate in Congress on immigration and other issues.

“I can say he’s been very good at tapping this frustration, this anger that is out there with the American public,” he said.

But, the congressman said he recently asked a Trump supporter if he would actually vote for him if he becomes the Republican nominee for president.

“He said, 'I don’t know. I have to think about it,'” Cuellar said.