Donald Trump delivered a major immigration speech in Phoenix, Arizona Wednesday night. Below is the text as prepared for delivery.
(Note: Trump deviated from his prepared remarks several times throughout his delivery.
Thank you, Phoenix. I am so glad to be back in Arizona, a state that has a very special place in my heart.
I love the people of Arizona and, together, we are going to win the White House in November.
Tonight is not going to be a normal rally speech.
Instead, I am going to deliver a detailed policy address on one of the greatest challenges facing our country today: immigration.
I have just landed having returned from a very important and special meeting with the President of Mexico – a man I like and respect very much, and a man who truly loves his country. Just like I am a man who loves the United States.
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.
We also discussed the great contributions of Mexican-American citizens to our two countries, my love for the people of Mexico, and the close friendship between our two nations.
It was a thoughtful and substantive conversation. This is the first of what I expect will be many conversations in a Trump Administration about creating a new relationship between our two countries.
But to fix our immigration system, we must change our leadership in Washington. There is no other way.
The truth is, our immigration system is worse than anyone realizes. But the facts aren't known because the media won't report on them, the politicians won't talk about them, and the special interests spend a lot of money trying to cover them up.
Today you will get the truth.
The fundamental problem with the immigration system in our country is that it serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists and powerful politicians. Let me tell you who it doesn't serve: it doesn't serve you, the American people.
When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean the following: amnesty, open borders, and lower wages.
Immigration reform should mean something else entirely: it should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens.
But if we are going to make our immigration system work, then we have to be prepared to talk honestly and without fear about these important and sensitive issues.
For instance, we have to listen to the concerns that working people have over the record pace of immigration and its impact on their jobs, wages, housing, schools, tax bills, and living conditions. These are valid concerns, expressed by decent and patriotic citizens from all backgrounds.
We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate. It is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish here.
Then there is the issue of security. Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws.
I have met with many of the parents who lost their children to Sanctuary Cities and open borders. They will be joining me on the stage later today.
Countless Americans who have died in recent years would be alive today if not for the open border policies of this Administration. This includes incredible Americans like 21-year-old Sarah Root. The man who killed her arrived at the border, entered federal custody, and then was released into a U.S. community under the policies of this White House.
He was released again after the crime, and is now at large.
Sarah had graduated from college with a 4.0, top of her class, the day before.
Also among the victims of the Obama-Clinton open borders policies was Grant Ronnebeck, a 21 year-old convenience store clerk in Mesa, Arizona. He was murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member previously convicted of burglary who had also been released from Federal Custody.
Another victim is Kate Steinle, gunned down in the Sanctuary City of San Francisco by an illegal immigrant deported five previous times.
Then there is the case of 90 year-old Earl Olander, who was brutally beaten and left to bleed to death in his home. The perpetrators were illegal immigrants with criminal records who did not meet the Obama Administration's priorities for removal.
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.
A 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office found that illegal immigrants and other non-citizens in our prisons and jails together had around 25,000 homicide arrests to their names.
On top of that, illegal immigration costs our country more than $113 billion dollars a year. For the money we are going to spend on illegal immigration over the next ten years, we could provide one million at-risk students with a school voucher.
While there are many illegal immigrants in our country who are good people, this doesn't change the fact that most illegal immigrants are lower-skilled workers with less education who compete directly against vulnerable American workers, and that these illegal workers draw much more out from the system than they will ever pay in.
But these facts are never reported.
Instead, the media and my opponent discuss one thing, and only this one thing: the needs of people living here illegally.
The truth is, the central issue is not the needs of the 11 million illegal immigrants – or however many there may be.
That has never been the central issue. It will never be the central issue.
Anyone who tells you that the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has simply spent too much time in Washington.
Only out of touch media elites think the biggest problem facing American society today is that there are 11 million illegal immigrants who don't have legal status.
To all the politicians, donors and special interests, hear these words from me today: there is only one core issue in the immigration debate and it is this: the well-being of the American people. Nothing even comes a close second.
Hillary Clinton, for instance, talks constantly about her fears that families will be separated. But she's not talking about the American families who have been permanently separated from their loved ones because of a preventable death.
No, she's only talking about families who came here in violation of the law.
We will treat everyone living or residing in our country with dignity. We will be fair, just and compassionate to all. But our greatest compassion must be for American citizens.
President Obama and Hillary Clinton have engaged in gross dereliction of duty by surrendering the safety of the American people to open borders. President Obama and Hillary Clinton support Sanctuary Cities, they support catch-and-release on the border, they support visa overstays, they support the release of dangerous criminals from detention – and they support unconstitutional executive amnesty.
Hillary Clinton has pledged amnesty in her first 100 days, and her plan will provide Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare for illegal immigrants – breaking the federal budget. On top of that, she promises uncontrolled low-skilled immigration that continues to reduce jobs and wages for American workers, especially African-American and Hispanic workers. This includes her plan to bring in 620,000 new refugees in a four-year term.
Now that you've heard about Hillary Clinton's plan – about which she has not answered a single substantive question – let me tell you about my plan.
While Hillary Clinton meets only with donors and lobbyists, my plan was crafted with the input from federal immigration officers, along with top immigration experts who represent workers, not corporations. I also worked with lawmakers who've led on this issue on behalf of American citizens for many years, and most importantly, I've met with the people directly impacted by these policies.
Number One: We will build a wall along the Southern Border.
On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border. We will use the best technology, including above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels, and keep out the criminal cartels, and Mexico will pay for the wall.
Number Two: End Catch-And-Release
Under my Administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country.
Number Three: Zero tolerance for criminal aliens.
According to federal data, there are at least 2 million criminal aliens now inside the country. We will begin moving them out day one, in joint operations with local, state and federal law enforcement.
Beyond the 2 million, there are a vast number of additional criminal illegal immigrants who have fled or evaded justice. But their days on the run will soon be over. They go out, and they go out fast.
Moving forward, we will issue detainers for all illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings. We will terminate the Obama Administration's deadly non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets.
Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who not detained or processed for deportation.
My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens.
We will restore the highly successful Secure Communities program. We will expand and revitalize the popular 287(g) partnerships, which will help to identify hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens in local jails. Both of these programs have been recklessly gutted by this Administration. This is yet one more area where we are headed in a totally opposite direction.
On my first day in office, I am also going to ask Congress to pass "Kate's Law" – named for Kate Steinle – to ensure that criminal aliens convicted of illegal reentry face receive strong mandatory minimum sentences.
Another reform I am proposing is the passage of legislation named for Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, two law enforcement officers recently killed by a previously-deported illegal immigrant. The Davis-Oliver bill will enhance cooperation with state and local authorities to ensure that criminal immigrants and terrorists are swiftly identified and removed.
We are going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers. Within ICE, I am going to create a new special Deportation Task Force, focused on identifying and removing quickly the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice.
The local police know who every one of these criminals are. There's no great mystery to it, they've put up with it for years. And now, finally, we will turn the tables and law enforcement will be allowed to clear up this dangerous and threatening mess.
We're also going to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, and put more of them on the border, instead of behind desks. We will expand the number of Border Patrol Stations.
I've had a chance to spend time with these incredible law enforcement officers, and I want to take a moment to thank them. The endorsement I've received from the Border Patrol officers means more to me than I can say.
Number Four: Block Funding For Sanctuary Cities
We will end the Sanctuary Cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.
Number Five: Cancel Unconstitutional Executive Orders & Enforce All Immigration Laws
We will immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.
Hillary Clinton has pledged to keep both of these illegal amnesty programs – including the 2014 amnesty which has been blocked by the Supreme Court. Clinton has also pledged to add a third executive amnesty.
Clinton's plan would trigger a Constitutional Crisis unlike almost anything we have ever seen before. In effect, she would be abolishing the lawmaking powers of Congress in order to write her own laws from the Oval Office.
In a Trump Administration, all immigration laws will be enforced. As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But, unlike this Administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement – and ICE and Border Patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs. Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation – that is what it means to have laws and to have a country.
Our enforcement priorities will include removing criminals, gang members, security threats, visa overstays, public charges – that is, those relying on public welfare or straining the safety net, along with millions of recent illegal arrivals and overstays who've come here under the current Administration.
Number Six: We Are Going To Suspend The Issuance Of Visas To Any Place Where Adequate Screening Cannot Occur
According to data provided to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, between 9/11 and the end of 2014, at least 380 foreign-born individuals were convicted in terror cases inside the United States. The number is likely higher, but the Administration refuses to provide this information to Congress.
As soon as I enter office, I am going to ask the Department of State, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to begin a comprehensive review of these cases in order to develop a list of regions and countries from which immigration must be suspended until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place.
Countries from which immigration will be suspended would include places like Syria and Libya.
For the price of resettling 1 refugee in the United States, 12 could be resettled in a safe zone in their home region.
Another reform involves new screening tests for all applicants that include an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.
For instance, in the last five years, we've admitted nearly 100,000 immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan – in these two countries, according to Pew research, a majority of residents say that the barbaric practice of honor killings against women are often or sometimes justified.
Applicants will be asked for their views about honor killings, about respect for women and gays and minorities, attitudes on Radical Islam, and many other topics as part of the vetting procedure.
Number Seven: We will ensure that other countries take their people back when we order them deported
There are at least 23 countries that refuse to take their people back after they have been ordered to leave the United States, including large numbers of violent criminals. Due to a Supreme Court decision, if these violent offenders cannot be sent home, our law enforcement officers have to release them into U.S. communities. There are often terrible consequences, such as Casey Chadwick's tragic death in Connecticut just last year. Yet, despite the existence of a law that commands the Secretary of State to stop issuing visas to these countries, Secretary Hillary Clinton ignored this law and refused to use this powerful tool to bring nations into compliance.
The result of her misconduct was the release of thousands of dangerous criminal aliens who should have been sent home.
According to a report from the Boston Globe, from the year 2008 through 2014, nearly 13,000 criminal aliens were released back into U.S. communities because their home countries would not take them back. Many of these 13,000 releases occurred on Hillary Clinton's watch – she had the power and the duty to stop it cold and she didn't do it.
Those released include individuals convicted of killings, sexual assault and some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, who went on to reoffend at a very high rate.
Number Eight: We will finally complete the biometric entry-exit visa tracking system.
For years, Congress has required a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system, but it has never been completed.
In my Administration, we will ensure that this system is in place at all land, air, and sea ports. Approximately half of new illegal immigrants came on temporary visas and then never left. Beyond violating our laws, visa overstays pose a substantial threat to national security. The 9/11 Commission said that this tracking system should be a high priority and "would have assisted law enforcement and intelligence officials in August and September 2001 in conducting a search for two of the 9/11 hijackers that were in the U.S. on expired visas."
Last year alone, nearly a half a million individuals overstayed their temporary visas. Removing visa overstays will be a top priority of my Administration. If people around the world believe they can just come on a temporary visa and never leave – the Obama-Clinton policy – then we have a completely open border. We must send the message that visa expiration dates will be strongly enforced.
Number Nine: We will turn off the jobs and benefits magnet.
We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country.
Immigration law doesn't exist just for the purpose of keeping out criminals. It exists to protect all aspects of American life – the worksite, the welfare office, the education system and much else. That is why immigration limits are established in the first place. If we only enforce the laws against crime, then we have an open border to the entire world.
I will enforce all of our immigration laws.
The same goes for government benefits. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 62 percent of households headed by illegal immigrants used some form of cash or non-cash welfare programs, like food stamps or housing assistance. This directly violates the federal public charge law designed to protect the U.S. treasury.
Those who abuse our welfare system will be priorities for removal.
Number 10: We will reform legal immigration to serve the best interests of America and its workers
We've admitted 59 million immigrants to the United States between 1965 and 2015.
Many of these arrivals have greatly enriched our country. But we now have an obligation to them, and to their children, to control future immigration – as we have following previous immigration waves – to ensure assimilation, integration and upward mobility.
Within just a few years immigration as a share of national population is set to break all historical records.
The time has come for a new immigration commission to develop a new set of reforms to our legal immigration system in order to achieve the following goals:
To keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms to select immigrants based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society, and their ability to be financially self-sufficient. We need a system that serves our needs – remember, it's America First. To choose immigrants based on merit, skill and proficiency and to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first. We want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally and properly-vetted, and in a manner that serves the national interest.
We've been living under outdated immigration rules from decades ago. To avoid this happening in the future, I believe we should sunset our visa laws so that Congress is forced to periodically revise and revisit them. We wouldn't put our entire federal budget on autopilot for decades, so why should we do the same for immigration?
Let's talk about the big picture
These ten steps, if rigorously followed and enforced, will accomplish more in a matter of months than our politicians have accomplished on this issue in the last fifty years.
Because I am not a politician, because I am not beholden to any special interest, I will get this done for you and your family.
We will accomplish all of the steps outlined above, and when we do, peace and law and justice and prosperity will prevail. Crime will go down, border crossings will plummet, gangs will disappear, and welfare use will decrease. We will have a peace dividend to spend on rebuilding America, beginning with our inner cities.
For those here today illegally who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined above. Those who have left to seek entry under this new system will not be awarded surplus visas, but will have to enter under the immigration caps or limits that will be established.
We will break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration. There will be no amnesty.
Our message to the world will be this: you cannot obtain legal status, or become a citizen of the United States, by illegally entering our country.
This declaration alone will help stop the crisis of illegal crossings and illegal overstays.
People will know that you can't just smuggle in, hunker down, and wait to be legalized. Those days are over.
In several years, when we have accomplished all of our enforcement goals – and truly ended illegal immigration for good, including the construction of a great wall, and the establishment of our new lawful immigration system – then and only then will we be in a position to consider the appropriate disposition of those who remain. That discussion can only take place in an atmosphere in which illegal immigration is a memory of the past, allowing us to weigh the different options available based on the new circumstances at the time.
Right now, however, we are in the middle of a jobs crisis, a border crisis, and a terrorism crisis. All energies of the federal government and the legislative process must now be focused on immigration security. That is the only conversation we should be having at this time.
Whether it's dangerous materials being smuggled across the border, terrorists entering on visas, or Americans losing their jobs to foreign workers, these are the problems we must now focus on fixing – and the media needs to begin demanding to hear Hillary Clinton's answer on how her policies will affect Americans and their security.
These are matters of life-and-death for our country and its people, and we deserve answers from Hillary Clinton.
What we do know, despite the total lack of media curiosity, is that Hillary Clinton promises a radical amnesty combined with a radical reduction in immigration enforcement. The result will be millions more illegal immigrants, thousands more violent crimes, and total chaos and lawlessness.
This election is our last chance to secure the border, stop illegal immigration, and reform our laws to make your life better.
This is it. We won't get another opportunity – it will be too late.
So I want to remind everyone what we are fighting for – and who we are fighting for.
So I am going to ask all the Angel Moms to come join me on the stage right now.
[[PAUSE FOR ANGEL MOMS – EACH SAYS THE NAME OF THEIR CHILD INTO THE MICROPHONE]]
Now is the time for these voices to be heard.
Now is the time for the media to begin asking questions on their behalf.
Now is the time for all of us, as one country, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, to band together to deliver justice and safety and security for all Americans.
Let's fix this problem.
Let's secure our border.
Let's stop the drugs and the crime.
Let's protect our Social Security and Medicare.
And let's get unemployed Americans off of welfare and back to work in their own country.
Together, we can save American lives, American jobs, and American futures.
Together, we can save America itself.
Join me in this mission to Make America Great Again.
Thank you, and God Bless you all!