GOP nominee Donald Trump delivered his highly anticipated and fiery speech spelling out his “broader vision” on immigration policy in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday evening.
During his speech, Trump declared, “There will be no amnesty! Our message to the world will be this: You cannot obtain legal status or become a citizen of the United States by illegally entering our country. … People will know that you can’t just smuggle in, hunker down and wait to be legalized. Those days are over.”
At the event, which took place at the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump presented a range of policy proposals to stop the influx of illegal immigrants entering America through the porous U.S.-Mexico border.
Watch Trump’s immigration speech in Phoenix:
To fix America’s immigration system, Trump said, “We must change our leadership in Washington, and we must change it quickly.”
He said, “The truth is, our immigration system is worse than anybody ever realized.”
But he said the mainstream media won’t report the truth on the issue – and politicians aren’t motivated to fix it.
“The fundamental problem with the immigration system in our country is that it serves the needs of wealthy interest, political activists, and powerful politicians,” he said.
When politicians speak of immigration reforms, they talk about amnesty, he said. But Trump said true reform should mean improving policies and making life better for American citizens.
“We have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who wants to join this country will assimilate,” he said.
Trump listed a number of Americans who were killed and victimized by “illegal immigrants with criminal records a mile long.”
The GOP nominee noted that, in many cases, “Illegal immigrants are treated better than our vets.”
He continued, “The central issue is not the needs of the 11 million illegal immigrants … It will never be a central issue. It doesn’t matter from that standpoint. Anyone who tells you that the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has simply spent too much time here in Washington.
“There is only one core issue in the immigration debate, and that issue is the well-being of the American people. Nothing even comes a close second.”
Trump blasted President Obama and Hillary Clinton for supporting sanctuary cities, the release of dangerous illegal immigrant criminals in America’s streets and executive amnesty.
“We have no idea who these people are, where they come from,” he said.
He criticized Clinton’s plans to bring more unscreened refugees into the U.S.
“What is wrong with our leaders, if we can call them that? What the hell are we doing?” he asked.
Trump pledged to establish a “special deportation task force” to “find the most dangerous illegals who have evaded justice.”
Then he quipped, “Just like Hillary Clinton has evaded justice. Maybe they will deport her.”
Trump outlined the following plan Wednesday evening:
- “We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall. 100%. They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for the wall.” On Day 1, Trump said he will begin working on an impenetrable, tall, powerful, beautiful southern wall. He promised to use above and below-ground sensors, aerial surveillance and increased manpower. He said he will find and destroy underground tunnels.
- “We are going to end catch and release. Under my administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country and [sent] back to the country from which they came.”
- “Zero tolerance for criminal aliens, zero, zero, zero! They don’t come in here.” Trump said, according to federal data, there are at least 2 million “criminal aliens” inside America. “We will begin moving them out, Day 1, as soon as I take office, Day 1, in joint operation with local, state and federal law enforcement. … Day 1, my first hour in office, those people are gone. You can call it deported if you want. The press doesn’t like that term. You can call it whatever the hell you want, they’re gone!”
- “We will issue detainers for illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings, if we even have to do that.” Trump said he will terminate the Obama administration’s non-enforcement policies that allow illegal aliens to roam the streets of America committing crimes without consequence. “My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens immediately.”
- On his first day in office, Trump said he will ask Congress to pass Kate’s Law, named for Kate Steinle. He also pledged to push for passage of the Davis-Oliver Act to enhance cooperation between authorities and ensure criminal aliens are deported quickly.
- Trump pledged to triple the number of ICE deportation offices across America. “We will turn the tables, and law enforcement and our police will be able to clear up this dangerous and threatening mess.”
- “We’re also going to hire 5,000 more border agents … and put more of them on the border instead of behind desks.” He said his administration will expand the number of Border Patrol offices “significantly.”
- Trump vowed to fight to block funding for sanctuary cities. “We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths.”
- He promised to cancel unconstitutional executive orders and enforce all immigration laws. “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties.”
- “Suspend the issuance of visas to any place where adequate screening cannot occur.” Trump said, as soon as he enters office, he will ask the Department of State, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to develop a list of countries from which immigration must be suspended until an “extreme” vetting process can be put in place. Such countries include Syria and Libya, he said. “We are going to stop the tens of thousands of people coming from Syria.” Trump called for new screening tests for all applicants that include an “ideological certification to ensure that those admitted to our country share our values and love our people.”
- “We will ensure that other countries take their people back when we order them deported. There are at least 23 countries that refuse to take their people back after they have entered the United States. … Not gonna happen with me, folks. Not gonna happen with me.”
- “We will finally complete the biometric entry-exit visa tracking system, which we need desperately. … We will ensure that this system is in place. It will be in land, it will be on sea, in air.”
- “We will turn off the jobs and benefits magnet. We will ensure that E-verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law.” Trump said he will work with Congress to expand E-verify.
- “We will reform [the] legal immigration [system] to serve the best interests of America and its workers, the forgotten people, workers.”
Read the full text of Trump’s speech here.
Meeting with Mexican president
Before the big event in Phoenix, Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City Wednesday.
At the meeting, Nieto said illegal immigration into the U.S. has slowed down consistently in the last 10 years. He said Trump presents “an incomplete version” of border issues between the countries because he “doesn’t account for the illegal flow” of cash in firearms flowing into Mexico from the U.S.
“Every year, millions of dollars and weapons come in from the north that strengthen the cartels and other criminal organizations that generate violence in Mexico,” Nieto said, adding that American criminals benefit from illicit drug sales.
Nieto also defended the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, saying it’s good for both Mexico and the U.S.
Trump has called NAFTA a “disaster” and pledged to renegotiate the trade agreement.
“I’m going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don’t mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better,” Trump said in June. “If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.”
Trump called Wednesday’s talk “substantive” and “direct.”
“As you know, I love the United States very much, and I want to make sure the people of the United States are protected,” he said.
Trump added, “No one wins in either country when human smugglers and drug traffickers prey on innocent people, when cartels commit acts of violence, when illegal weapons and cash flow from the United States into Mexico or when migrants from Central America make a dangerous trek, and it is very very dangerous, into Mexico or the United States without legal authorization.”
Watch Trump’s Wednesday speech in Mexico:
Trump outlined five shared goals: 1) ending illegal immigration (including from Central and South Americans), 2) having a secure border as a “sovereign right” and a “mutually beneficial” goal, 3) dismantling drug cartels and ending the movement of illegal drugs, weapons and funds across the border, 4) “improving” and “updating” NAFTA to “keep industry in our hemisphere,” 5) “keep manufacturing wealth in our hemisphere,” rather than allowing it to go overseas.
“Having a secure border is a sovereign right,” Trump said. “We recognize and respect the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall on any of it’s borders. to stop the illegal movement of people, drugs, and weapons.
“Cooperation toward achieving the shared objective, and it will be shared, of safety for all citizens is paramount to the United States and Mexico.”
Trump said he discussed the border wall with Nieto but didn’t address who will pay for it.
“That’ll be for a later date,” he said. “This was a very preliminary meeting. I think it was an excellent meeting.”
However, Nieto later tweeted: “At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.”