Immigration was one of the main topics during the final debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican contender Donald Trump.
Asked about their positions, Trump reaffirmed his plans to build a wall along the southern border, get "bad hombres" out of the country and not give "amnesty." Clinton said she doesn’t want to rip families apart or "see the deportation force that Donald has talked about in action in our country."
As evidence, Clinton said that Trump "said as recently as a few weeks ago in Phoenix that every undocumented person would be subject to deportation."
We wondered if in fact Trump said all undocumented people would be subject to deportation.
Clinton’s campaign pointed to Trump’s immigration speech on Aug. 31 in Phoenix.
In that 10-point speech, Trump started by talking about criminals, saying there would be "zero tolerance for criminal aliens." He said his administration would begin moving them out "Day One," working especially with police and law enforcement who "know who these people are."
His fifth point centered on the enforcement of all immigration laws. The Clinton campaigned highlighted this part of the speech to back up Clinton’s debate comments.
"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 the way their jobs are supposed to be done. 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. Otherwise we don't have a country."
Trump said his deportation priorities included criminals, security threats and visa overstays. According to some estimates, about 40 percent of the undocumented population came to the United States on visas and overstayed their departure date.
While Trump emphasized removal of undocumented criminal immigrants and of those who arrived illegally, Clinton’s claim that every undocumented immigrant would be subject to deportation has merits.
In other parts of the Phoenix speech, Trump said undocumented immigrants would eventually have to return to their home countries and apply for re-entry.
"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," Trump said.
But Trump also gave another mixed message within the same speech.
He said that after accomplishing enforcement and deportation goals, after building a wall, ending illegal immigration and establishing a new lawful immigration system, "then and only then will we be in a position to consider the appropriate disposition of those individuals who remain." That suggests that while every undocumented person could potentially be deported ("subject to deportation"), they won’t all be deported.
Clinton claimed that Trump said "as recently as a few weeks ago in Phoenix that every undocumented person would be subject to deportation."
Trump said Aug. 31 that anyone in the country illegally who wants lawful status has to go back home and apply for re-entry, and that those who came illegally are subject to deportation.
But Trump also said "then and only then will we be in a position to consider the appropriate disposition of those individuals who remain." That suggests he doesn’t intend to deport literally every undocumented person.
Clinton’s statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information. We rate it Mostly True.
The Washington Post, The final Trump-Clinton debate transcript, annotated, Oct. 19, 2016
Email exchange, Hillary Clinton campaign, Oct. 19, 2016
Email exchange, Donald Trump campaign, Oct. 19, 2016
Los Angeles Times, Transcript: Donald Trump's full immigration speech, annotated, Aug. 31, 2016
PolitiFact, Ramos: 40% of undocumented immigrants come by air, Sept. 8, 2015
PolitiFact, Rubio says 40% of illegal immigrants stayed in the U.S. after their visas expired, July 29, 2015
MSNBC, Trump vows humane ‘deportation force,’ Nov. 11, 2015
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.