USA (HRNW): US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has insisted Mexico will pay for a border wall “100%”, in a major immigration speech.He told a cheering crowd in Arizona that he would secure the border, and left open the possibility that millions of illegal immigrants be deported.Hours earlier, he met Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto but said they had not discussed financing the wall.
The president later insisted he had told Mr Trump Mexico would not pay.
There had been speculation that the Republican candidate would back off his plan to deport the estimated 11m undocumented immigrants living in the US.
In his speech in Phoenix, there were conflicting signals about this. He said their fate was not a “core issue” and that deporting “criminal aliens” would be the priority.
“We will treat everyone living or residing in our country with great dignity,” he said.
But later he struck a more uncompromising note when he added: “Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws.”
Attacks on illegal immigrants have been central to Donald Trump’s campaign and key to his popularity with a section of the American public.
But the Republican is trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls and he needs more support from minorities, including the country’s 55 million Hispanics, if he is to have any chance of winning.
For a very short time, that problem seemed to explain his trip to Mexico City, to meet the president and preach friendship.
The softening of Donald Trump didn’t last long.
By the time he got to Phoenix the candidate’s rhetoric had hardened dramatically.
He promised to deport two million “criminal aliens” in his first hour in office; warned that millions more would be “subject to deportation” and re-stated his signature pledge, to build that “beautiful” wall.
This was not the policy pivot that many were expecting – and that many think Mr Trump needs if he is to keep his presidential dream alive.
Mr Trump said it was the right of the US to choose immigrants that “we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us”.
Elaborating on that idea, he said his “extreme vetting” would involve an ideological test for immigrants applying to live in the US.
“Applicants will be asked for their views about honour killings, about respect for women and gays and minorities, attitudes on radical Islam,” he said.
Mr Trump, a New York hotel developer, stormed to an unlikely victory in the Republican primaries partly due to his tough talking on immigration.