On Monday, we broke down Donald Trump's immigration plan into three categories: the familiar (stricter law enforcement, a border wall), the far-fetched (forcing Mexico to pay for the wall by impounding remittances, repealing birthright citizenship, mass deportation) and the big, heated rhetoric (blaming immigrants for stagnant wages).
Far-fetched or not, the proposal forced his rivals to immediately declare their positions on all of these matters. Their responses demonstate, yet again, why this is not the conversation most GOP candidates want to be having at the moment. Immigration inevitably divides the party, risks alienating Latino voters and generally makes candidates look like they're not searching for practical solutions. But in this race, Trump is driving the train.
How his rivals responded to his plan:
> As he walked through the Iowa State Fair, Scott Walker clearly endorsed ending birthright citizenship, which grants citizenship to people born in the U.S. regardless of their parents' citizenship. It's widely believed to be protected by the 14th Amendment. Walker's campaign later tried to dial back his comments.
> Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham, two candidates who might be considered party moderates on the issue of immigration, blasted Trump's plan as fantasy -- at least part of it.
"Donald Trump's eight-page plan is absolute gibberish. It is unworkable," Graham told CNN. "Mitt Romney said his biggest mistake as a candidate for president was embracing self-deportation. That hurt our party. Donald Trump's plan is forced deportation. It's not going to work."
"How do you revoke remittances?" Bush wondered. "A plan needs to be grounded in reality."
Both men, however, were less critical on the question of birthright citizenship. Graham said he'd support ending it. Bush dodged: "There are like 10 things I would change in the Constitution with a magic wand," he said.
> New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also suggested that he would consider trying to amend the Constitution. "What I've said recently is that's gotta be something that should be discussed in the course of an entire reform package," he said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
But Christie was critical of Trump's plan to build a wall at the border: "That's not gonna fix the problem," he said.
> Carly Fiorina took a similar approach -- dismissing the wall plan and trying to hedge on the birthright cititzenship question.
"It would take passing a constitutional amendment to get that changed. This is part of our 14th Amendment, and so honestly I think we should put all of our energies, all of our political will over finally getting the border secured and fixing the legal immigration system," she told the Associated Press.
> Florida Sen. Marco Rubio weighed in on Tuesday, saying he does not support repealing the 14th Amendment and casting Trump's other proposals as unrealistic. "Obviously there are some ideas that have merit, but the majority of it is not a workable plan that could ever pass Congress," he told NBC News.