Two groups that support far-reaching curbs on legal immigration to the United States and ideological screening of would-be immigrants to test their beliefs say Donald Trump's presidential campaign has consulted them on his immigration policy, Reuters reported on Friday.
NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies, which for years have denied accusations they harbor radical views on immigration, told Reuters they had met or had telephone calls with either Trump or senior members of his campaign over the past year.
Trump's campaign, which has won over millions of supporters with his calls for a wall on the Mexican border and a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, declined to confirm the meetings.
While Trump's immigration proposals push the Republican Party sharply to the right, NumbersUSA and CIS also want to slash legal immigration, going beyond the New York businessman's call to keep it “within historical norms."
NumbersUSA says on its website that immigrants are the main driver of population growth, take jobs that should go to U.S. workers, and fuel urban sprawl that threatens farmland and wildlife habitats. NumbersUSA wants to cut legal immigration to 500,000 a year immediately, said Chris Chmielenski, the group's director of content and activism.
The head of CIS, Mark Krikorian, has argued against legal immigration extensively. Last year he wrote in the National Review that mass legal immigration would end U.S. conservatism, because immigrants tend to have more liberal views on issues like gun rights.
NumbersUSA head Roy Beck told Reuters he had met with Trump in New York and had also spoken with people “at the top”
of his campaign repeatedly since last autumn, when NumbersUSA accepted invitations to meet several Republican presidential hopefuls.
Much of the contact was by phone and email. Beck would not provide details of what was discussed or say who took part in the discussions.
In early August, NumbersUSA shared a 10-point immigration with the Trump campaign. Of the 10 points, six were echoed by Trump in a major immigration speech on Aug. 31.
Those points included calls for the immediate deportation of undocumented immigrants with criminal records and the mandatory use of the “E-verify”
system to check a job applicant’s legal status.
Beck said the overlap showed the "convergence"
of ideas between his group and the campaign but he acknowledged he had "no indication that they sat down and looked at our 10 steps and said let’s take six of them."
Krikorian, of CIS, whose slogan is "Low-immigration, pro-immigrant,"
said his group had also received requests for research and studies from the Trump campaign for months.
In an Aug. 15 speech, Trump outlined his plan for ”extreme vetting”
of immigrants, calling for an ideological test to gauge their views on things like religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights to ensure the country only admits people “who share our values and respect our people."
CIS was an early proponent of ideological screening - widely criticized as discriminatory and a violation of freedom of thought - to protect U.S. culture and national security following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but it was unclear if Trump consulted CIS on the idea.
The Department of Homeland Security already requires people seeking legal status in the United States to show they adhere to the principles of the Constitution.