The entire speech, in fact, imagines that government at all levels will be used to hunt down and remove immigrants from their homes, families and jobs. Mr. Trump was describing a world of lockups and surveillance and fugitive-hunting squads, a vast system of indiscriminate catch-and-punish that works as hard to catch hotel maids and landscapers as it does gang members and terrorists.What does that mean? How does the speech "imagine" something that he never said? Now, as I've been saying lately, I find it very hard to see where he ever said specifically that he wanted to deport anyone other than those who were convicted of crimes (or who were caught crossing the border). And clearly — the NYT admits it — his speech this week never said anything about rounding up the millions and deporting them. He did say he'd take back the "amnesty" Obama gave "to approximately five million illegal immigrants." And he didn't specifically refute the image some people have of what he will do.
Many people, myself included, do not believe he every envisioned deporting peaceful, well-settled, productive immigrants. But he obviously knows many people — his supporters and opponents — think or want to encourage others to think that he will do that — hunt down and remove immigrants from their homes, families and jobs. He is choosing not to state very clearly that's absolutely not his plan. But in leaving that subject unexplored, is he "imagining" and "describing" an America of "lockups and surveillance and fugitive-hunting squads" hunting down "hotel maids and landscapers"?
The NYT is imagining and describing that. Trump didn't do it. I don't like the NYT engaging in that kind of distortion and exaggeration and scaring readers. But Trump — knowing the media hate him and will distort and exaggerate — has responsibility for declining to disavow that plan. He must be charged with actively choosing to leave this empty place in his plan that people will fill with their hopes and fears.
He had 10 points in his plan. 10! 10 says: I'm covering this very comprehensively. And yet there is this very well known subject and somehow it didn't get a point.
Oh, but 10! 10 sounds so complete.
Yeah, well, this one goes to 11. The 11th point is unstated, and that's what's so beautiful/horrible about it. It's whatever you want it to be.