A lesbian activist who pushed for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and openly transgender service in the armed forces posed a question to Donald Trump Wednesday night on undocumented immigrants.
Sue Fulton, former president of the LGBT military group SPARTA and board member of OutServe-SLDN, asked Trump during NBC’s “Commander-in-Chief” forum whether he’d let undocumented immigrants seeking to serve in the armed forces to remain in the United States.
Trump was non-committal in his initial reply: “I think that when you serve in the armed forces, that’s a very special situation, and I can see myself working that out. Absolutely.”
When moderator Matt Lauer asked Fulton to clarify whether she was talking about undocumented immigrants currently serving in the military, or those desiring to serve, Fulton said she was referring to the latter.
Trump responded by saying he would “absolutely hold those people,” but cautioned that vetting would be important for undocumented immigrants seeking to serve in the armed forces.
“The military is a very special thing,” Trump said. “If they plan on serving, if they get in, I would absolutely hold those people. We have to be very careful. We have to vet very carefully. Everybody would agree with that. But the answer is it would be a very special circumstance, yes.”
Although Trump campaigned during the Republican primary on a plan to deport the entire population of 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, he’s recently softened his tone. Still, during a speech last week, Trump said he still wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and stoked fears about undocumented immigrants, invoking stories about incidents in which they caused direct harm to U.S. citizens.
Here’s video (courtesy Michael Rogers):