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Trump outlines deportation, wall construction plans in key speech

After dropping in on Mexico's president, Donald Trump doubled down on his vow to make Mexico pay for a border wall.

With renewed bluster, Trump offered some clarity on his immigration policies Wednesday night in a speech in Arizona, renewing calls for a deportation force and pledging to build an "impenetrable" barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent. They don't know it yet, but they're going pay for the wall," Trump said.

Hours earlier, Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City and took a decidedly softer tone. In a tweet, Pena Nieto said after the meeting that he told Trump his country would not pay for the barrier.

The tweet translates to: "At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall."

In a subsequent tweet, the Mexican president said in Spanish, "From there, the conversation addressed other issues, and developed a respectful manner."

Trump's speech in Arizona, which lasted more than an hour, followed confusion over whether Trump had softened his immigration stance. He outlined the steps he would take to crack down on immigration, a priority he has loudly stressed from the outset of his campaign that was once perceived to be a long-shot.

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto arrive for a press conference at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City, Mexico, August 31, 2016.
Henry Romero | Reuters
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto arrive for a press conference at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City, Mexico, August 31, 2016.

Employing a nationalist message used throughout his campaign, Trump said the immigration debate should focus mainly on "the well-being of the American people." He contended that illegal immigration has sapped jobs and prosperity from low-skilled American workers, casting his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton as a proponent of porous borders and easy entry.

Recent comments from Trump raised questions about whether he still wants to deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. In the speech, he did not commit to removing all of those immigrants, but said "anyone who has entered the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation."

Along with pledging to make Mexico fund a "beautiful" wall, Trump said he wanted to create a "special deportation task force focused on identifying and quickly removing" criminal undocumented immigrants. He said he would triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers while focusing on the removal of criminals and people who have overstayed visas.

"You can call it 'deported' if you want, the press doesn't like that word. You can call if whatever the hell you want. They're gone," Trump said about his plan for a federal, state and local effort to remove criminal undocumented immigrants.

Trump said he wants to cancel Obama administration executive actions protecting about 5 million people from deportation, among other measures. In addition, Trump said he would ensure that deported individuals do not return to the U.S.

He pledged to stop issuing visas to places where "adequate screening" cannot happen, with details expected be determined later. Trump also reiterated his calls to ensure that immigrants can assimilate, share what he deemed American values and thrive economically, a task that could prove difficult in practice.

"It's our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants who we think are the likeliest to thrive," Trump said.

Trump did not address the potential cost of building his proposed wall or boosting ICE officers. He did say, however, that he aims to make the construction of the barrier cost efficient.

He contrasted his vision from Clinton's, claiming "she doesn't know what she's doing" except to "let everybody in." Clinton has said she will introduce immigration reform that offers a pathway to full citizenship, emphasizing a need to keep families together.

She has also pledged to uphold Obama's executive actions in direct contrast to Trump.