Donald Trump reversed himself on a key immigration-policy issue in the middle of the Republican presidential debate on Thursday night.
In an unusual move, Trump said from the stage in Detroit that he now wants an increase in visas for highly skilled foreign workers. He has previously argued for the opposite this campaign season, during which immigration has taken center stage as an emotionally charged issue.
“I’m changing it and I’m softening the position because we need to have talented people in this country,” Trump said at the debate with Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Trump’s rivals have attacked him for hiring foreign workers at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., and for having Trump-brand clothing made overseas. The kind of visas Trump was talking about Thursday night are H-1B visas, for specialty occupations.
Cruz kept up his attack on Trump on Thursday night over a meeting the New York real-estate mogul had with the New York Times in January. Trump reportedly said something in his interview with the Times about his flexibility on some of his immigration positions. The Republican front-runner had actually said he was open to negotiating in a separate interview.
Trump said he wouldn’t ask the Times to release the tape.
Some conservatives were alarmed by Trump’s reversal on highly skilled immigrant visas.
Trump softening on H1B visas is problematic for me.
— Preston Brooks (@Rebel_Bill) March 4, 2016