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Donald Trump Outlines Plan To Build U.S. Mexico Border Wall, Deport Undocumented Immigrants

(Photo by Jude Joffe-Block-KJZZ)
People gather for the rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on August 31, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outlined a 10-part immigration plan  that built on his campaign’s promises to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border and deport immigrants in the country illegally.

“There is only one core issue in the immigration debate, and that issue is the well-being of the American people,” Trump said. 

Trump said he would hire more federal agents to work on the border and facilitate deportations, end Obama administration executive actions that shield some immigrants from deportation, and punish so-called “sanctuary cities” by blocking federal funding.

Trump did not give details such as where the funding for the programs or where undocumented immigrants would be detained before they could be deported.

Trump said he created the plan with help from lawmakers, immigration officers and experts.

10 Parts of Trump’s Immigration Plan

1. Build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
2. “End catch-and-release.” Trump said anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they can be sent back to their country of origin.
3. "Zero tolerance for criminal aliens." Undocumented immigrants arrested for any crime will be placed into removal proceedings.
4. Block funding to so-called sanctuary cities. These are places that have adopted policies that help shelter immigrants.
5. Undo President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration that would give temporary legal status to parents of immigrant children who have legal status.
6. Suspend visas from countries that can’t provide adequate screening or documentation. These would include Syria and Libya.
7. “Ensure that other countries take their people back when we order them deported.”
8. Complete the biometric entry and exit visa tracking system.
9. “Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet.” This would include Increasing use of E-Verify, a system that identifies if workers are eligible to work in the country.
10. Reform legal immigration to “serve the best interests of America.” Trump said he wants to choose immigrants based on skills and merit.

Gov. Doug Ducey, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and family members of people allegedly killed by undocumented immigrants spoke before Trump took the stage.

Arpaio said if it were not for Trump, the presidential campaigns would not address illegal immigration.

"I don't care who pays for it, let's get it built," Arpaio said of Trump's plan to erect a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border.

Outside the Phoenix Convention Center children and adults beat up on a piñata in Trump’s image wearing a red tie. Protesters inflated giant balloons depicting Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in prison stripes and Trump in the garb of a KKK member.

A Softer Immigration Approach?

Securing the border was a recurring theme of the speech. He proposed tripling the number of deportation officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and hiring five times more Border Patrol agents. He suggested forming more local-federal partnerships with law enforcement. Trump also wants to ban immigration from countries he says can’t do adequate screening like Syria and Libya.

Then he focused on the issue of security. He plans to massively increase deportations, starting with criminals.

"In California, a 64 year-old Air Force Veteran, Marilyn Pharis, was sexually assaulted and beaten to death with a hammer. Her killer had been arrested on multiple occasions, but was never deported," he said.

Trump was unclear on the deportation task forces meant to round up the roughly 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. He had been proposing that since the early days of his campaign. Regarding undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record, he says in several years, once all 10 steps have been made and the new immigration system has been established, "Then and only then will we be in a position to consider the appropriate disposition of those who remain."

So is he softening like he had been accused of? Many attendees, like Army Ranger John Pendleton, didn’t seem to think so.

"Absolutely not, he did not soften a thing," Pendleton said.

Others did notice the absence of a so-called “roundup” style deportation plan, like Betsy Gruber. But she seemed to be OK with that.

"We have always thought we need to close the border, get rid of criminals, but then the people who are here, the families who are achieving, then we can decide how to handle all of that," Gruber said.

Others hoped for an even softer tone than what they got. Josephine Cisneros says she longs to be with her husband, who was deported to Mexico, and was not happy to continue hearing the relatively hardline immigration policies.

"I would like to hear a little more professional context. Rather than some pretty strong motives that are hateful and hurtful," Cisneros said.

Meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

Earlier Wednesday, Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City.

“We agreed on the importance of ending the illegal flow of drugs cash and guns across our border,” Trump said.

Trump said he and Peña Nieto agreed on the positive contributions made by Mexican American citizens in their respective countries.

Peña Nieto has previously dismissed Trump’s claim that Mexico will pay to build a border wall between the two countries. However, the headlining promise of Trump’s immigration plan is to “build a great wall along the southern border.”

Trump added in his Phoenix speech, Mexico will pay for the wall.

“I really believe they want to solve this problem,” Trump said.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.