Recently, Donald Trump has called for mass deportation of illegal immigrants and limitation of birthright citizenship. However, many anti-Trump pundits have quoted a previous statement much friendlier to the undocumented:

"You have to give them a path. You have 20 million, 30 million, nobody knows what it is. It used to be 11 million. Now, today I hear it’s 11, but I don’t think it’s 11. I actually heard you probably have 30 million. You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed."

Is it a real quote, and if so where is the original source? I have not found any news articles about it before summer 2015. It does not occur in this 2011 interview by Bill O'Reilly or in this 2012 interview by NewsMax.

  • 1
    "Recently, Donald Trump has spoken strongly in favor of immigration enforcement, including mass deportation." Is that legal or illegal immigrants? If it's illegal ones, there's no conflict. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 7:22
  • 5
    I do see how these things are supposed to be in conflict. It would be ridiculous to not have any path at all, that does not mean some/most would not still get deported. "A path" by no interpretation means "free citizenship for all"
    – Jonathon
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 18:07
  • 1
    I cannot find the interview but there are multiple "transcripts" of it, including cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1507/03/sitroom.02.html and glennbeck.com/2015/07/09/…
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 2:04
  • 1
    As a more specific claim, CNN reporter Chris Moody asserts on Twitter that Trump said this (at least the last sentence) at a press conference in Chicago on June 29, 2015. I have not found further corroboration. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 18:16
  • 1
    @FooBar: I have now listened to the entire speech+Q&A (youtube.com/watch?v=zECwc7W22is, yay for 2x speed) and can confirm that the "path" comments are not in there. Again, this video does not include the press conference where the comments were allegedly made. (And a correction to my previous comment: it's not the Chicago Club but rather the City Club of Chicago.) Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


Yes, Donald Trump did make this statement in a 2015-06-29 press conference:

You have 20 million, 30 million, nobody knows what it is. It used to be 11 million. Now, today I hear it’s 11, but I don’t think it’s 11. I actually heard you probably have 30 million. You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed.

This press conference was aired by CNN on the July 3rd episode of Situation Room in a series of various video clips of Trump under the topic "Outrage Grows as Trump Keeps Talking about Mexicans".

Statement #1

allegedly Donald Trump: The biggest problem is that you have some great, wonderful people coming in from Mexico that are working the crops, they’re working cutting lawns, they’re doing a lot of jobs that I’m not sure that a lot of Americans are going to take those jobs. And that’s the dichotomy. That’s the big problem because you have a lot of great people coming in doing a lot of work, and I’m not so sure that a lot of other people are going to be doing that work. So, it is a very tough problem, but I do say this, you have a law, or at least you have to establish a law, and I guess we’re sort of a country and other people aren’t supposed to be coming into our country illegally.

The above statement purported to be uttered by Donald Trump is also not present in Bill O'Reilly's interview with Trump in 2011 and seem to be simply inserted between actual interview transcripts of the 2011 O'Reilly Factor show. The unedited videos are present here and here.

The actual order of conversation between Bill O'Reilly and Donald Trump in the interview are as follows (tried my best to match the exact words spoken and with reference from Glenn Beck Program column).


The question about illegal immigration to Donald Trump starts in this 2011 interview with Bill O'Reilly.

O’Reilly @13:02

Now, the 15 million illegal aliens already in the United States, what do you do with them?

O'Reilly @14:22:

What do you do with the 15 million here, do you give them a pathway to citizenship or you put them on a bus and drive them out from here?

Trump @14:34

I think right now you’re going to have to do something, and you know it’s hard to generalize, but you’re going to have to look at the individual people, see how they’ve done, see how productive they’ve been, see what their references are, and then make a decision.

O’Reilly @14:48

All right, on a case-by-case—going to take a long time and a lot of people.

Trump @14:51

A long time, but you know, you have some great, productive people that came and then you have some total disasters that probably need to be in prison.


Then the interviewer Bill O'Reilly moves to social issues (abortion) questioning to Donald Trump.

  • 2
    I think that transcript is supposed to represent a couple of video clips aired in sequence, some of which are from O'Reilly and others which may be from somewhere else. The sourcing is clearly wrong but it does sound like CNN has video of him saying this, it's just not clear where it came from, or what the context may have been. Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 6:06
  • CNN transcript from here-transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1507/03/sitroom.02.html does not have the purported inserted portions. The transcript in the Glen Beck site claims that this was between Billy O Reilly and Donald Trump. Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 6:15
  • 2
    Very unclear answer. Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 11:42
  • Nice, you found where & when he said it. Now we just need the preceding part (including the question if any) and some amount after it, for context.
    – Foo Bar
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 21:00
  • Formatted this answer a bit. But, it seems like this answer's way longer than it needs to be. The first part clearly answers the question, providing a link to a YouTube video of Trump making the alleged quote. The rest seems to be a tangential discussion on other quotes not asked about in the question.
    – Nat
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 3:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .