Addressing a lively crowd in Phoenix, Arizona, Wednesday night during his much-anticipated immigration speech, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump vowed to build a “great wall” along America’s southern border on Mexico’s tab and deport approximately 2 million “criminal aliens” on his first day in the Oval Office.
Taking advantage of an opportunity to dispel much of the recent conjecture accusing him of softening his immigration stance, Trump doubled down on his earlier promise to erect an “impenetrable, physical wall” from the Pacific Coast of California to Texas’ Gulf of Mexico.
The White House hopeful fended off critics by outlining a more focused mission for deportation, which included a set of proposals for fighting illegal immigration. He prioritized ousting certain groups of illegal aliens, starting with gangs and those who have overstayed their visas.
Still tough on immigration
Even though the billionaire stopped short of calling for the removal of all illegal aliens in the United States, he did stress that any immigrant staying in America illegally would be subject to deportation under his administration – if elected.
"There will be no amnesty," Trump insisted, according to Fox News. "For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only – to return home and apply for reentry like everybody else under the rules of the new legal immigration system I outlined above."
Trump then took on Washington and others who he says benefit from lax immigration policies.
“[America’s current immigration system] serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists and powerful politicians," Trump told Arizonans Monday. “Let me tell you who it does not serve – it does not serve you the American people. It doesn’t serve you.”
Looking to revolutionize the immigration system further, the businessman made a pledge to his supporters in Phoenix that the border patrol’s “catch and release” practice would come to end. He also vowed to boost the amount of ICE and U.S. border patrol agents, block funding for sanctuary cities and establish a deportation task force that would concentrate on deporting criminal aliens to make America a safer place.
Taking on the Democrats
The vocal GOP candidate also took on President Barack Obama, assuring Americans that he would cancel his “illegal” executive actions and begin to enforce the current immigration laws.
Changing the focus to his White House rival, Trump accused Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of not having an immigration plan of her own.
“[Hillary Clinton would give] ObamaCare, Social Security and Medicare to illegal immigrants, breaking the federal budget," the 70-year-old conservative insisted.
Staying on the subject of Clinton, Trump made a joke after arguing that she was in the same boat with criminal aliens targeted for deportation who “evaded justice.”
"Maybe they'll be able to deport her too," the real estate tycoon jested.
Right to protect and choose
Staying on topic, Trump emphasized that the United states – just like every other nation on the planet – is entitled to select the immigrants that would best benefit society.
“It’s our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us,” the White House hopeful asserted to the Southwestern crowd.
He went on the prove critics wrong, stressing that if and when he is elected in November, he will not waiver … and resolutely stand by his position that America needs a border wall – and that he is the best man to build it.
"We will build a great wall along the southern border," Trump guaranteed the energetic crowd as it chanted "build the wall," which was met by another promise. "And Mexico will pay for the wall."
Not stopping there, Trump envisioned the wall before the Phoenix gathering.
"[This wall will be] impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful," he continued.
From south to north of the border …
Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto just hours before sharing his immigration plan in Phoenix, stressing to the Latino nation that America has every “right” to build a wall on the shared border.
Even though Trump didn’t see eye-to-eye with Nieto regarding the wall during his brief trip to Mexico City, he portrayed his meeting with Mexico’s president a “substantive, direct and constructive exchange of ideas.”
The aspiring president conceded that not everything went his way when discussing the wall with Nieto.
“[W]e didn’t discuss payment of the wall,” Trump expressed in a statement to the media.
However, Mexico’s president took to social media to contend that he made it clear to Trump that no Mexican dollars would be invested on the wall.
"[I made it clear] that Mexico will not pay for the wall," Nieto tweeted.
The tensions over the wall were ignited last summer when Trump accused Nieto of sending mostly non-choice Mexican citizens over the border.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best … they’re not sending you – they’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us,” Trump insisted early in his campaign. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”