An “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall” will begin to be built on Day 1 of the Donald Trump presidency, the candidate promised in Phoenix tonight. “And Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent. They don’t know it yet, but they’re gonna pay for the wall,” he told a raucous crowd.
“We will use the best technology, including above- and below-ground sensors. That’s the tunnels. Remember that,” Trump enthused. “Above- and below- ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels. And Mexico, you know that, will work with us. I really believe it. Mexico will work with us. I absolutely believe it.”
Justice Department Says Donald Trump's Tax Returns Must Be Released To Congressional Committee
Earlier in the day, Trump flew to Mexico at the invitation of its president Enrique Peña Nieto, to discuss Trump’s immigration policy. Standing next to Peña Nieto in front of the flag of Mexico, Trump told reporters the two men had talked about the wall, but the subject of who was paying for it had not been broached. But, shortly before giving Trump gave his speeh in Arizona, Peña Nieto tweeted that he, in fact, did tell the GOP nominee during their meeting that Mexico would not pay for that wall.
Watch on Deadline
Throwing off all pretense of that “softened” immigration position he’d hinted at the past several days, in a bid to sway moderates and minorities, tonight’s double-down speech returned full circle to the red-meat rhetoric he’d used to launch his campaign, in June of ’15.
“Many illegal immigrants in our country are good people. Many many who are good people,” Trump conceded. “It doesn’t change the fact most illegal immigrants are lower-skilled workers with less education, who compete directly against vulnerable American worker, and that these illegal workers draw much more out from the system than they can ever possibly pay back. And they are hurting lot of our people who cannot get jobs under any circumstances.
He accused Hillary Clinton of being entirely focused on “the needs of people living here illegally, who in many ways are treated better than our vets.”
“Anyone who tells you the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has spent too much time in Washington,” he quipped. “Only out-of-touch media elites think the biggest problem facing American society today is that there are 11M illegal immigrants who don’t’ have legal status. And they also think the biggest thing is not nuclear, ISIS, Russia, China. It’s global warming.”
In one of the moments that played best in the hall, Trump said, “To all the politicians, donors and special interests, hear these words from me and all of you today: 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. Hillary Clinton talks constantly about her fear families will be separated. But she’s not talking about the American families who have been permanently separated from their loved ones because of a preventable homicide. Because of preventable death, because of murder.”
President Obama and Clinton “have engaged in gross dereliction of duty by surrendering the safety of the American people to open borders, and you know it better than anybody, here in Arizona” he said to an approving crowd.
Marching through his 10-point immigration strategy, Trump promised to jettison all undocumented people who arrested for any reason, and zero tolerance for any immigrant who commits a crime, and the creation of a Deportation Task Force.
“You can call it deportation if you want. The press doesn’t like that term. You can call it whatever the hell you want – they’re gone,” he raved.
He promised to ban immigration from certain countries and “extreme vetting” of all those wanting to get in, including merit and ideological tests.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.