Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Trump retreats from vow to deport all illegal immigrants

Published:Friday | September 2, 2016 | 9:00 AM

PHOENIX (AP):

Donald Trump is retreating from his vow to deport everyone living in the United States illegally, even as he sticks with an aggressive tone on illegal immigration and remains committed to building a physical wall along the US border with Mexico.

The Republican presidential nominee promised Wednesday to remove millions of people living in the United States illegally if elected, warning that failure to do so would jeopardise the "well-being of the American people."

"Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation," Trump said in a highly anticipated speech hours after his surprise meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

But the billionaire New Yorker also said the effort of a proposed immigration task force in a Trump administration would focus on removing criminals, people who have overstayed their visas and other immediate security threats.

Left unanswered by Trump: What would happen to those who have not committed crimes beyond their immigration offences?

Aimed at ending weeks of confusion over just where he stands on immigration, Trump's fiery speech was filled with applause lines for his loyal supporters.

Anyone living in the country illegally who is arrested "for any crime whatsoever," he said, will immediately be placed into deportation proceedings. "There will be no amnesty," he added, saying immigrants in the country without permission who wish to seek legal status must return to their home countries in order to do so.

But there was no direct mention of a core promise of his primary campaign - to create a "deportation force" that would remove all of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

Trump instead repeated the standard Republican talking point that only after securing the border can a discussion begin about all such immigrants, ducking the major question that has frustrated past congressional attempts at remaking immigration laws.