Trump Delivers Hard-Line Message in Phoenix

PHOENIX (CN) — Fresh off a plane from Mexico on Wednesday, Donald Trump told a raucous crowd in Phoenix that he would “build a great wall” on the border, “and Mexico will pay for it. They don’t know it yet, but they are going to pay for it.”
     It was a day of twists and turns for the Republican candidate, who met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City earlier Wednesday, then told reporters there that they had not discussed who would pay for the proposed border wall.
     After that meeting, however, the Mexican president sent a Twitter message stating: “I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.”
     But Trump sent no mixed messages to the thousands of supporters who gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center, promising to build a wall and offer no amnesty to undocumented immigrants.
     “We will build a great wall along the southern border,” Trump told the enthusiastic crowd. “And Mexico will pay for the wall. A hundred percent. They don’t know it yet, but they are going to pay for it.”
     Trump promised that on his first day of office, the United States will start work on an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern wall” with above and below-ground sensors, towers and aerial surveillance. Trump said in Texas last week that the wall will be 35 to 40 feet high.
     Trump’s visit to Mexico was major news in that country, where many citizens and the country’s compliant news media criticized their president for meeting with Trump, who launched and sustained his campaign with open insults to Mexican immigrants, calling them rapists and criminals, and questioned whether a U.S.-born federal judge of Mexican heritage could preside fairly over a class action lawsuit against Trump’s shuttered real estate school, Trump University.
     “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,” Trump told said about his meeting with Peña Nieto. “It was a thoughtful and substantive conversation. … In the end we are all going to win, both countries.”
     Trump enraged many of his hard-line followers a week ago when he appeared to waffle on his campaign promise to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. It was seen as a classic “move to the center” for a general election campaign, though most pundits commented that it would not persuade anyone on the political left, and alienated those on the hard right.
     Trump told the crowd Wednesday that he will offer no amnesty for people in the country illegally, but did not state clearly what actions he would take against the millions here already.
     “For those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only,” Trump said. “To return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined today.”
     Trump said he would end “catch and release” policies.
     “Anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country,” he said. “We will take them to the country from where they came from.”
     He said his administration would work with local and state law enforcement on “zero tolerance” for undocumented immigrants who committed offenders.
     “Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone,” Trump said. “You can call it whatever the hell you want … their days have run out in this country.”
     Presidents have no power to deport people. The process can be a lengthy one, though it has been speeded up considerably under the Obama administration, which severely limited refugees’ and asylum-seekers’ access to courts and appeal.
     Arizona, a conservative stronghold, is shaping up to be a battleground state for Trump and Hillary Clinton. In his speech Wednesday, Trump told the crowd that perhaps he should “deport her.”
     An Ipsos poll conducted from Aug. 12 to 25 found 46 percent of Arizona voters supporting Trump, and 43 percent for Clinton. The only Democratic presidential candidate to carry Arizona since the 1950s was Bill Clinton, in 1992.
     Trump supporters began lining up at the Phoenix Convention Center four hours before his 6 p.m. speech, braving 106-degree heat and atypical humidity.
     Richard Martinez wanted to hear details of the immigration plan.
     “I want to know more than the wall,” Martinez said. “I want to know what other measures he’s going to take to support Americans and keep jobs safe.”
     Martinez, a Latino and lifelong Republican, said there’s no room for the soft-hearted in politics.
     “This isn’t about being nice to people who come here illegally,” Martinez said. “This is about putting our country first.”
     For Trudy Rogers of Mesa, amnesty isn’t an option.
     “I’ve got cousins who can’t find jobs,” Rogers said. “They work in landscaping and say they can’t compete with the rates those people will work for. How can anyone compete with that?”
     Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio warmed up the crowd before Trump spoke. The five-term sheriff easily won his Republican primary race Tuesday, taking 66 percent of the vote against three challengers.
     “We got the greatest guy, probably in the world, who knows how to make a deal [with Mexico],” Arpaio said.
     “Now, Donald Trump wants to build a wall,” he continued. “Quite frankly, I don’t care who builds it. … Take away their foreign aid, take away that money and build the wall.”
     Sen. John McCain did not attend the rally, nor has he attended any of Trump’s rallies in Arizona since Trump announced his candidacy for president. The two do not get along.
     As Trump revved up his campaign in July 2015, he slammed McCain, a Navy veteran and former prisoner of war, for being captured during the Vietnam War.
     “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said during a Family Leadership Summit in Iowa. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
     McCain was tortured during more than five years in captivity, and refused North Vietnamese offers to let him go home, because they would not let him take his fellow prisoners with him. It was believed that the North Vietnamese made the offer because McCain’s father was an admiral, as was his grandfather.
     Trump was scheduled to stop in Wilmington, Ohio on Thursday, in another crucial swing state.

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