Donald Trump would reverse President Obama's executive orders on immigration and deport all undocumented immigrants from the U.S. as president, he said in an exclusive interview with NBC's Chuck Todd.
"We're going to keep the families together, but they have to go," he said in the interview, which aired in full on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
Pressed on what he'd do if the immigrants in question had nowhere to return to, Trump reiterated: "They have to go."
"We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don't have a country," he said.
Speaking on Trump's gilded private plane as it idled on a runway in Des Moines, Iowa, the real-estate mogul and Republican presidential front runner offered the first outlines of the immigration policy proposals he'd implement from the Oval Office.
Trump said, to begin, "we have to" rescind Obama's executive order offering those brought to the U.S. illegally as children — known as DREAMers — protection from deportation, as well as Obama's unilateral move to delay deportation for their families as well.
"We have to make a whole new set of standards" for those immigrating to the U.S.
The Trump campaign released a full policy paper on immigration online Sunday. Among other things, it reiterates the idea that Mexico should pay for a border wall, and "until they do" the United States will:
"Impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards - of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]. We will not be taken advantage of anymore."
The paper also says a President Trump would triple the number of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers and defund so-called "sanctuary" cities that don't cooperate with federal immigration round-ups.
The positions are certain to further inflame already fierce opposition from Latino activists and advocacy groups. They've been critical of Trump's candidacy from the start, when he kicked off his campaign with a speech that accused Mexico of sending "criminals" and "rapists" to the U.S.
Despite criticism from some within his own party — GOP primary opponent Jeb Bush called those comments "extraordinarily ugly" — Trump doubled down and has, since launching his bid in June, maintained a persistent lead in polls of the GOP field. He routinely draws thousands of enthusiastic supporters to his campaign rallies, and recently opened up his first campaign office in the all-important early voting state of Iowa.