PHOENIX, Arizona — Hours after returning to the United States from Mexico, where he met with that country’s president, GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump doubled down on his America-first immigration plan with a central focus on security for the country.
In the lengthy, policy-laden, specifics-heavy speech, Trump—whom many in the progressive media had speculated for over a week would “soften” his tone and policies on the core campaign issue of immigration—once again shocked the political world with a detailed plan to protect the country from threats associated with uncontrolled mass migration into America.
Trump opened the presidential-style address before thousands of Arizonans here by talking about his earlier Wednesday meeting with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. He said:
I have just landed having returned from a very important and special meeting with the President of Mexico – a man I like and respect very much, and a man who truly loves his country. Just like I am a man who loves the United States. We agreed on the importance of ending the illegal flow of drugs, cash, guns and people across our border, and to put the cartels out of business. We also discussed the great contributions of Mexican-American citizens to our two countries, my love for the people of Mexico, and the close friendship between our two nations. It was a thoughtful and substantive conversation. This is the first of what I expect will be many conversations in a Trump Administration about creating a new relationship between our two countries. But to fix our immigration system, we must change our leadership in Washington. There is no other way.
In a joint press conference with Pena Nieto earlier in Mexico City, the Mexican president and U.S. presidential hopeful detailed how they agreed that the United States has a right to build a wall on the border with Mexico and that the U.S. and Mexico should renegotiate the failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
NAFTA, which was signed by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s husband former President Bill Clinton, has decimated America’s manufacturing sector, draining jobs from America’s heartland and rustbelt into Mexico. Trump’s push to renegotiate the deal, and Pena Nieto’s agreement with him that it must be renegotiated, is a major coup for the GOP presidential candidate who has made trade just as big a focus as immigration in the outsider’s unlikely rise to the top of the Republican Party as the GOP’s presidential nominee.
But one thing they say they didn’t discuss in the meeting was who would pay for Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border—Trump wants Mexico to pay for it, but Pena Nieto and his predecessors have previously said that Mexicans are not going to pay for the wall.
During his event here—an immigration policy speech in the heart of one of the states where Trump is currently leading Clinton, and where he won another surprising major victory on his glide path to the nomination earlier this year against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)—Trump made it clear: He expects Mexico to pay for the wall on the border.
Trump also described his wall in great detail, noting that it will employ “the best technology,” and have above and below ground components.
“On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border,” Trump said. “We will use the best technology, including above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels, and keep out the criminal cartels, and Mexico will pay for the wall.”
That was the first of 10 steps to put forth a lawful system of immigration that serves the needs of Americans of all backgrounds and legal immigrants already here, rather than, as he said in his speech, opening a system that “serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists, and powerful politicians.”
The second step was to end “catch-and-release,” where the President Barack Obama administration currently captures illegal aliens entering the country and instead of deporting them on the spot allows them to stay in the United States and enter American communities.
“Under my Administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country,” Trump said.
Trump’s third step is to have “zero tolerance” for any illegal aliens. He said:
According to federal data, there are at least 2 million criminal aliens now inside the country. We will begin moving them out day one, in joint operations with local, state and federal law enforcement. Beyond the 2 million, there are a vast number of additional criminal illegal immigrants who have fled or evaded justice. But their days on the run will soon be over. They go out, and they go out fast. Moving forward, we will issue detainers for all illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings. We will terminate the Obama Administration’s deadly non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets.
He specifically detailed how President Obama has allowed hundreds of thousands of said criminal illegal aliens back into American neighborhoods across the country, endangering the lives of millions of Americans—including the children of the so-called “Angel Mom” mothers who later joined Trump on stage. The Angel Moms, as they’ve become known, have seen their children killed by illegal aliens for years—and the federal government under President Obama has done nothing. What’s more, Hillary Clinton—the Democratic nominee for president—has refused to acknowledge these mothers’ losses.
Trump went on to say:
Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who not detained or processed for deportation. My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens. We will restore the highly successful Secure Communities program. We will expand and revitalize the popular 287(g) partnerships, which will help to identify hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens in local jails. Both of these programs have been recklessly gutted by this Administration. This is yet one more area where we are headed in a totally opposite direction.
Trump said he will press Congress to pass “Kate’s Law” to combat sanctuary cities, which encourage illegal immigration. He said:
On my first day in office, I am also going to ask Congress to pass ‘Kate’s Law’ – named for Kate Steinle – to ensure that criminal aliens convicted of illegal reentry face receive strong mandatory minimum sentences. Another reform I am proposing is the passage of legislation named for Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, two law enforcement officers recently killed by a previously-deported illegal immigrant. The Davis-Oliver bill will enhance cooperation with state and local authorities to ensure that criminal immigrants and terrorists are swiftly identified and removed.
Trump laid out how he is going to increase resources to federal immigration law enforcement agencies—and even create a new task force inside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency designed specifically for the deportation of problematic illegal aliens. He said:
We are going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers. Within ICE, I am going to create a new special Deportation Task Force, focused on identifying and removing quickly the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice. The local police know who every one of these criminals are. There’s no great mystery to it, they’ve put up with it for years. And now, finally, we will turn the tables and law enforcement will be allowed to clear up this dangerous and threatening mess.
He said, too, he will increase the resources that the U.S. Border Patrol—which is also handcuffed by Obama administration policies that Hillary Clinton supports—and that he is proud to have the endorsement of the U.S. Border Patrol Council, which represents thousands of border agents.
“We’re also going to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, and put more of them on the border, instead of behind desks. We will expand the number of Border Patrol Stations,” Trump said. “I’ve had a chance to spend time with these incredible law enforcement officers, and I want to take a moment to thank them. The endorsement I’ve received from the Border Patrol officers means more to me than I can say.”
Fitting in with all of that—including Kate’s Law—Trump’s fourth point is that he wants to end funding for sanctuary cities.
“We will end the Sanctuary Cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths,” Trump said. “Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.”
Fifth up, Trump said he will reverse the executive amnesties and other unconstitutional executive actions and orders that President Obama has put into place enabling illegal immigration—all of which Hillary Clinton supports or wants to expand. Trump continued:
We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants. Hillary Clinton has pledged to keep both of these illegal amnesty programs – including the 2014 amnesty which has been blocked by the Supreme Court. Clinton has also pledged to add a third executive amnesty. Clinton’s plan would trigger a Constitutional Crisis unlike almost anything we have ever seen before. In effect, she would be abolishing the lawmaking powers of Congress in order to write her own laws from the Oval Office. In a Trump Administration, all immigration laws will be enforced. As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But, unlike this Administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement – and ICE and Border Patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs. Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation – that is what it means to have laws and to have a country. Our enforcement priorities will include removing criminals, gang members, security threats, visa overstays, public charges – that is, those relying on public welfare or straining the safety net, along with millions of recent illegal arrivals and overstays who’ve come here under the current Administration.
Sixth, Trump said he will suspend issuance of visas to people from countries without adequate screening processes in place. He said:
According to data provided to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, between 9/11 and the end of 2014, at least 380 foreign-born individuals were convicted in terror cases inside the United States. The number is likely higher, but the Administration refuses to provide this information to Congress. As soon as I enter office, I am going to ask the Department of State, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to begin a comprehensive review of these cases in order to develop a list of regions and countries from which immigration must be suspended until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place. Countries from which immigration will be suspended would include places like Syria and Libya. For the price of resettling 1 refugee in the United States, 12 could be resettled in a safe zone in their home region. Another reform involves new screening tests for all applicants that include an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people. For instance, in the last five years, we’ve admitted nearly 100,000 immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan – in these two countries, according to Pew research, a majority of residents say that the barbaric practice of honor killings against women are often or sometimes justified. Applicants will be asked for their views about honor killings, about respect for women and gays and minorities, attitudes on Radical Islam, and many other topics as part of the vetting procedure.
In his seventh point, Trump said he will make sure other countries take illegal aliens back when they are deported from the U.S.
“There are at least 23 countries that refuse to take their people back after they have been ordered to leave the United States, including large numbers of violent criminals,” Trump said. “Due to a Supreme Court decision, if these violent offenders cannot be sent home, our law enforcement officers have to release them into U.S. communities. There are often terrible consequences, such as Casey Chadwick’s tragic death in Connecticut just last year.”
Trump laid out how Hillary Clinton failed to follow the law—in yet another instance of her lawlessness—when during her time as Secretary of State she didn’t stop issuing visas to people from these countries. He said:
Yet, despite the existence of a law that commands the Secretary of State to stop issuing visas to these countries, Secretary Hillary Clinton ignored this law and refused to use this powerful tool to bring nations into compliance. The result of her misconduct was the release of thousands of dangerous criminal aliens who should have been sent home. According to a report from the Boston Globe, from the year 2008 through 2014, nearly 13,000 criminal aliens were released back into U.S. communities because their home countries would not take them back. Many of these 13,000 releases occurred on Hillary Clinton’s watch – she had the power and the duty to stop it cold and she didn’t do it. Those released include individuals convicted of killings, sexual assault and some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, who went on to reoffend at a very high rate.
In his eighth point in his common-sense immigration reform plan, Trump detailed how he will finally complete the biometric entry-exit visa program to track those coming in and out of the country. Trump said:
For years, Congress has required a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system, but it has never been completed. In my Administration, we will ensure that this system is in place at all land, air, and sea ports. Approximately half of new illegal immigrants came on temporary visas and then never left. Beyond violating our laws, visa overstays pose a substantial threat to national security. The 9/11 Commission said that this tracking system should be a high priority and “would have assisted law enforcement and intelligence officials in August and September 2001 in conducting a search for two of the 9/11 hijackers that were in the U.S. on expired visas.
Last year alone, nearly a half a million individuals overstayed their temporary visas. Removing visa overstays will be a top priority of my administration. If people around the world believe they can just come on a temporary visa and never leave – the Obama-Clinton policy – then we have a completely open border. We must send the message that visa expiration dates will be strongly enforced.”
In the ninth point, Trump laid out how he will turn off the economic magnet for illegal immigration. He called for E-Verify and for the enforcement of blocking any illegal aliens from access to government benefits. He said:
We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country. Immigration law doesn’t exist just for the purpose of keeping out criminals. It exists to protect all aspects of American life – the worksite, the welfare office, the education system and much else. That is why immigration limits are established in the first place. If we only enforce the laws against crime, then we have an open border to the entire world. I will enforce all of our immigration laws. The same goes for government benefits. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 62 percent of households headed by illegal immigrants used some form of cash or non-cash welfare programs, like food stamps or housing assistance. This directly violates the federal public charge law designed to protect the U.S. treasury. Those who abuse our welfare system will be priorities for removal.
The tenth, and perhaps the most important part of Donald Trump’s immigration reform plan is a return to a legal immigration system that serves the interests of the country and American workers—rather than the interests of multinational companies and globalist elites like Hillary Clinton.
“We’ve admitted 59 million immigrants to the United States between 1965 and 2015,” Trump said. “Many of these arrivals have greatly enriched our country. But we now have an obligation to them, and to their children, to control future immigration – as we have following previous immigration waves – to ensure assimilation, integration, and upward mobility. Within just a few years immigration as a share of national population is set to break all historical records.”
Trump said that the “time has come” for “a new immigration commission” designed to develop reforms to America’s legal immigration system with the “following goals” in mind:
To keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms. To select immigrants based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society, and their ability to be financially self-sufficient. We need a system that serves our needs – remember, it’s America First. To choose immigrants based on merit, skill and proficiency. And to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first. We want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally and properly-vetted, and in a manner that serves the national interest. We’ve been living under outdated immigration rules from decades ago. To avoid this happening in the future, I believe we should sunset our visa laws so that Congress is forced to periodically revise and revisit them. We wouldn’t put our entire federal budget on autopilot for decades, so why should we do the same for immigration?