Don­ald Trump blasted by Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent as 'a huge threat' af­ter Pledge to ramp up De­por­ta­tions in tough Im­mi­gra­tion Speech

The Star (St. Lucia) - - CLASSIFIED -

Mex­ico's pres­i­dent re­buked Don­ald Trump as a threat to his coun­try just hours af­ter paint­ing a pos­i­tive pic­ture of talks the two held on Wed­nes­day to try to defuse ten­sions over the U.S. pres­i­den­tial hope­ful's an­tiMex­i­can cam­paign rhetoric.

En­rique Pena Ni­eto is­sued the furious re­sponse to a ma­jor im­mi­gra­tion speech from the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee in Phoenix, Ari­zona in which he de­picted il­le­gal im­mi­grants as dan­ger­ous and in­sisted all “il­le­gal aliens” would be sub­ject to de­por­ta­tion.

"His pol­icy stances could rep­re­sent a huge threat to Mex­ico, and I am not pre­pared to keep my arms crossed and do noth­ing," Mr Pena Ni­eto said in a late evening tele­vi­sion in­ter­view.

"That risk, that threat, must be con­fronted. I told him that is not the way to build a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship for both na­tions."

The com­ments were in stark con­trast to the show of diplo­macy hours ear­lier in Mex­ico, where Mr Trump called Mr Pena Ni­eto his "friend".

Aban­don­ing the diplo­matic ap­proach he had taken dur­ing the Mex­ico visit, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee de­liv­ered a barn­storm­ing ad­dress rem­i­nis­cent of his rau­cous pri­mary elec­tion ral­lies.

Af­ter Mr Pena Ni­eto, Mex­ico's pres­i­dent, con­tra­dicted his state­ment that pay­ment for his pro­posed wall on the U.S. South­ern bor­der had not come up dur­ing their meet­ing, Mr Trump did not wa­ver in his prime time speech.

"We will build a great wall along the South­ern bor­der," he said, paus­ing for em­pha­sis be­fore con­tin­u­ing: "and Mex­ico will pay for the wall. One hun­dred per­cent. They don't know it yet but they're go­ing to pay for it."

For two weeks Mr Trump had ap­peared to sig­nal that he would be soft­en­ing his ap­proach to il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion in or­der to ap­pease mod­er­ate and His­panic vot­ers.

There was nary an olive branch in sight dur­ing Wed­nes­day night's speech, a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of which was de­voted to Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who had been killed or oth­er­wise harmed by il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

"Count­less in­no­cent Amer­i­can lives have been stolen be­cause our politi­cians have failed in their duty to se­cure our bor­ders and en­force our laws like they have to be en­forced," he said.

He be­moaned the loss of "vic­tims of the Obama-Clin­ton open bor­der pol­icy," and was joined on stage by peo­ple who had lost chil­dren and spouses at the hands of il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

One by one they in­sisted that if Mr Trump had been in of­fice sooner, their loved ones would still be alive.

In a step that will soothe the con­cerns of his base but is broadly un­pop­u­lar with the gen­eral elec­torate, Mr Trump warned all 11 mil­lion peo­ple cur­rently in the U.S. could face de­por­ta­tion if he wins the White House.

Re­ject­ing so-called "amnesty", he said no one would be able to gain ci­ti­zen­ship by sim­ply re­main­ing in the U.S. af­ter en­ter­ing il­le­gally.

"Peo­ple will know that you can't just smug­gle in, hun­ker down and wait to be le­galised," he said. "Those days are over."

He said all un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants who were ar­rested - let alone con­victed - would face au­to­matic de­por­ta­tion.

Call­ing for stricter en­force­ment of ex­ist­ing im­mi­gra­tion law and "zero tol­er­ance for crim­i­nal aliens", Mr Trump promised to triple the num­ber of im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers re­spon­si­ble for de­por­ta­tion.

"I am go­ing to cre­ate a new spe­cial de­por­ta­tion task force fo­cused on iden­ti­fy­ing and quickly re­mov­ing the dan­ger­ous crim­i­nal il­le­gal im­mi­grants in Amer­ica who have evaded jus­tice," he said.

He even made a tonguein-cheek sug­ges­tion of an­other pos­si­ble tar­get for ex­pul­sion: "Hil­lary Clin­ton has evaded jus­tice. Maybe they'll be able to de­port her."

But he re­mained un­clear about ex­actly what would be­come of the 11 mil­lion peo­ple cur­rently liv­ing in the shad­ows.

"For those here il­le­gally to­day who are seek­ing le­gal sta­tus, they will have one route and one route only: to re­turn home and ap­ply for re-en­try like every­body else un­der the rules of the new le­gal im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem that I have out­lined above," Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump said his op­po­nent's im­mi­gra­tion strat­egy was to "let every­body in and de­stroy the coun­try". He warned that if that were to come to pass, Amer­ica would cease to be a sov­er­eign na­tion.

The tone of the speech was dark, and his mes­sage ap­peared to be in­tended for his core con­stituency of white, work­ing class vot­ers rather than the more di­verse group that will go to the polls on No­vem­ber 8.

It ended in trade­mark fash­ion though: "We're go­ing to make Amer­ica great again."

Don­ald Trump de­liv­ers his im­mi­gra­tion speech in Phoenix.

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