Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday that anyone who is in the United States illegally would be subject to deportation if he is elected, sticking with his hardline position after flirting with a softer approach.
In a major speech in the border state of Arizona, Trump took a dim view of the 11 million people who crossed into the United States illegally, a week after saying many were “great people” who had lived in the country for years and contributed to American society.
He said all people in the United States illegally would have “only one route” to gain legal status if Trump were to win the Nov. 8 presidential election: “To return home and apply for re-entry.”
“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,” Trump said.
“People will know you can’t just smuggle in, hunker down and wait to be legalized,” he said. “Those days are over.”
Trump again vowed that Mexico would pay for construction of a “great border wall” between the two countries. He spoke hours after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told Trump in a face-to-face meeting in Mexico City that Mexico would not pay for it.
“We will build a great wall along the southern border,” Trump said. “And Mexico will pay for the wall – 100 percent. They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for the wall.”
Trump said at a joint news conference with Pena Nieto that he and the Mexican leader did not discuss who would pay for the wall. Pena Nieto remained silent on the issue at the event, but said later on Twitter he did raise the issue.
“At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall,” Pena Nieto said in a tweet.