Donald Trump unveils 'America first' immigration policy

Republican nominee insists Mexico will pay for border wall hours after meeting with president of southern neighbor

Donald Trump unveils 'America first' immigration policy

World Bulletin / News Desk

Donald Trump unwrapped his much-anticipated immigration policy in a speech in Phoenix, Arizona that drove home the "America first" attitude that forms the backbone of his platform.

Fresh off a meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico, the Republican presidential nominee set the tone with a familiar pledge.

“Number one. Are you ready? Are… you… ready? We will build a great wall along the southern border,” Trump said to thunderous, dragged-out chants and screams of approval.

“And Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent. They don’t know it yet but they will," he added.

Shortly after their meeting, Nieto made clear that he told Trump his country would not pay for what the business mogul affectionately called an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall".

Trump divulged after the meeting that the two men sidestepped the issue of who would pay, while stressing they were on the same page regarding the need to stop the flow of illegal migrants, drugs, guns and cash.

Revisiting the payment issue was just one aspect of the America-first attitude of Trump, who said: "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."

The Republican candidate, who declared himself "proudly not a politician", criticized the "open-border" policies of the "Obama-Clinton" administration and vowed "zero tolerance for criminal aliens," promising to "begin moving them out day one" if he is elected president.

He pledged to enhance border controls beyond the wall -- which he said his administration would build "in record time and at a reasonable cost" -- with 5,000 more border patrol agents and "many more" stations.

Trump also fleshed out his plans regarding immigration from countries plagued by violence, including some in the Middle East he singled out when he delivered his now infamous remarks proposing a total ban ofMuslims entering the United States.

Trump said he would suspend the issuance of visas to any place where adequate screening cannot occur, suggesting "extreme vetting" as part of the screening process that would also include an "ideological certification", confirming from prospective immigrants if they would uphold U.S. values by asking their opinions on such issues as honor killings, respect for women, gays and minorities and attitudes toward "radical Islam" as Trump put it.

Removing visa overstays would a "top priority" of the Trump administration, which would choose immigrants "based on merit, skill and proficiency," he said, before asking the audience: "Doesn't that sound nice?"

Extreme vetting would apply first and foremost to those applying for immigration from Syria and Libya, Trump said. He also expressed support for safe zones in countries suffering from conflict.

"For the price of resettling one refugee in the United States, 12 can be resettled in a safe zone in their home region, which I agree with a 100 percent," he said. "We have to build safe zones, and we will get the money from Gulf states," he added.

Trump said a new set of immigration controls would help ensure open jobs first go to Americans, including "African-American and Latino workers who have been shut out in this process so unfairly".

Trump also said he would terminate two “illegal” executive amnesties issued by President Barack Obama that offerws residency to nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. The Republican nominee left open, however, the possibility that millions more could be deported under his presidency.

Last Mod: 01 Eylül 2016, 08:17
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