Washington (AFP): Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, beset by questions over whether he is softening his hardline stance on immigration, says he will make a speech on the subject Wednesday in Arizona.
His surrogates, including running mate Mike Pence, were out on the television talks shows Sunday with the message that Trump would unveil a “fair and humane” policy for dealing with the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
“I will be making a major speech on ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION on Wednesday in the GREAT state of Arizona. Big crowds, looking for a larger venue,” Trump tweeted later Sunday.
Trump, whose signature campaign promise has been to build a “great wall” on the US border with Mexico, has distanced himself in recent days from previous vows to mount a “deportation force” to remove the millions already in the country.
Critics have assailed Trump’s stance as harsh and unworkable, but it won the New York billionaire a fervent following among less-educated white males during the Republican primaries.
It now looms as an obstacle, however, as he seeks to expand his base in the general election contest with Democrat Hillary Clinton, who has accused Trump of flirting with racism.
“Donald Trump will articulate what we do with the people who are here,” Pence said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We will have a mechanism for dealing with people in this country that — you heard the word ‘humanely.’ It will be fair and tough, but there will be no path to legalization and citizenship unless people leave the country,” the Indiana governor said.