Trump insists his immigration policies will have 'heart'

Mr Donald Trump driving a golf cart at his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen at the weekend.
Mr Donald Trump driving a golf cart at his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen at the weekend.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

ABERDEEN (Scotland) • Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said that he would not characterise his immigration policies as including "mass deportations", and that rather than a blanket ban on Muslims entering the US, he would focus on those from countries with links to terrorists.

Mr Trump, in an interview on Saturday at his golf course in Aberdeen, also said he would toss out the work done over several years on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping trade pact, and start from scratch.

The billionaire-turned-politician said his immigration policies would have "heart", suggesting that he may be shifting tone to transition into general election mode after the bruising primary season.

"President Obama has massdeported vast numbers of people - the most ever - and it's never reported. I think people are going to find that I have not only the best policies, but I will have the biggest heart of anybody," he said.

Pressed on whether he would issue "mass deportations", Mr Trump answered: "No, I would not call it mass deportations."

Under his immigration plan released in 2015, the US would build a wall along its Mexican border and make Mexico pay for the structure by, in part, impounding certain remittance payments. Mr Trump has also said he would deport all undocumented immigrants, a number estimated at 11 million.

The 70-year-old tycoon continued eating fish and chips at the course clubhouse before adding: "We are going to get rid of a lot of bad dudes who are here. That I can tell you."

Earlier, Mr Trump told reporters that he would seek to restrict people from unspecified "terrorist countries" from entering the US. It marked a shift from a news release on Dec 7 saying that, if elected, he wanted "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the U S.

There were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as of 2010, or about 23 per cent of the world's population, according to the Pew Research Centre.

"I want terrorists out. I want people that have bad thoughts out. I would limit specific terrorist countries and we know who those terrorist countries are," he said.

Mr Trump did not specify which countries may be included. Although the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has occupied swathes of Iraq and Syria, Europe has also been rocked by terror attacks orchestrated by citizens of France and Belgium who were the sons of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

The gunman in the Orlando, Florida, massacre this month was the New York-born son of immigrants from Afghanistan, while the perpetrator of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, last December was a US citizen of Pakistani descent, and his wife was a Pakistani-born lawful resident.

On the TPP, the trade agreement signed this year by 12 Pacific Rim countries, Mr Trump said he would prefer bilateral talks.

"I like the idea of making deals with individual countries. They put in these vast number of countries and it gets so complicated and it's more than 6,000 pages," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Trump insists his immigration policies will have 'heart''. Print Edition | Subscribe