Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE walked back his remarks on visas for highly skilled migrant workers following Thursday night's debate.
"I’m changing it, and I’m softening the position because we need to have talented people in this country," Trump said in the Detroit debate of his position on H-1B visas.
Trump had been opposed to increasing the number of the permits provided annually, saying on his campaign website that they would "decimate women and minorities."
His website argues for "raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs" to favor domestic workers "instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas."
"I'm changing. We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can't do it, we'll get them in," Trump said during the debate when pressed by moderator Megyn Kelly.
But after the debate, his campaign released a statement titled "Donald J. Trump's position on visas."
"Megyn Kelly asked about highly-skilled immigration. The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay," Trump's statement said.
"I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements. I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions."
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' House to vote on Uyghur bill amid diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics This week: Congress poised to go into December overtime MORE (R-Fla.) quickly knocked Trump over the reversal.
"Tonight Donald Trump finally took an actual position. But as soon as the debate was over, his handlers made him reverse himself. The Republican nominee cannot be somebody who is totally clueless on so many issues, including his signature issue," he said in a statement.