Mike Pence has hard time explaining Donald Trump's immigration plan.

Even Donald Trump’s Running Mate Can’t Explain His Immigration Plan

Even Donald Trump’s Running Mate Can’t Explain His Immigration Plan

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Sept. 4 2016 3:01 PM

Even Donald Trump’s Running Mate Can’t Explain His Immigration Plan

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence greets the crowd at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

Steve Pope/Getty Images

When asked to give details on Donald Trump’s immigration plans, surrogates for the Republican candidate seem to turn into the shrugging shoulders emoji: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Even his running mate, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, doesn’t quite know what to say. In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Pence said that undocumented immigrants would be treated “humanely” but didn’t offer much in the way of details. And it wasn’t for lack of questions. NBC’s Chuck Todd repeatedly tried to get Pence to go into specifics about the candidate’s immigration plans, particularly about what would happen to undocumented immigrants in a Trump presidency. But no dice. Each time, Pence shifted the topic and refused to even try to explain Trump’s apparent shift on the issue of deportations. The strategy? That’s an issue for a later date.

“We’re going to enforce the laws of this country. We’re going to make sure that we essentially end illegal immigration once and for all,” Pence said. “And when all of that happens, then, as a nation, he said we can give consideration to how we resolve issues around those that remain. We’ll do it humanely. We’ll do it with the compassion of the American people.”

Pence was hardly alone. Talking on ABC’s This Week, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said the question of what to do with the undocumented immigrants may end up being irrelevant. “Once you enforce the law, once you get rid of the criminals, once you triple the number of [immigration] agents, once you secure the southern border, once you turn off the jobs magnet, jobs and benefit magnet, then we’ll see where we are,” she said after ABC’s Martha Raddatz pressed her on the issue. “We don’t know who will be left.”

The only surrogate who seemed to be a bit more open about the situation was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said on CNN’s State of the Union that Trump was softening his stance on mass deportations. Trump “would find it very, very difficult to throw out a family that has been here for 15 years and they have three children, two of whom are citizens,” he said. “That is not the kind of America he wants.” Still, he also didn’t get into specifics.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.