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Republican Candidate Trump: Illegal Immigrants 'Have to Go'

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets attendees at the Iowa State Fair during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, Aug. 15, 2015.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said Sunday that illegal immigrants will have to leave the U.S. if he is elected.

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press about his political views, Trump said, "We're going to keep families together, but they have to go. ... We either have a country or we don't have a country."

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Trump has taken a hard line against them as he runs to succeed President Barack Obama, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.

Build a wall

Trump has accused Mexico of allowing "criminals" and "rapists" to illegally enter the United States and vowed to build an impenetrable wall along U.S.-Mexican border.

"Nobody's getting through that wall," he said in the interview.

On other foreign policy issues, Trump said if elected he would "take away" the wealth of Islamic State insurgents in Iraq by recapturing oil fields they have seized.

He said he would give Iraq "something" but would hand most of the new-found money to families of American soldiers wounded and killed during the eight-year U.S. war in Iraq.

In the last year, the U.S. has launched hundreds of airstrikes against Islamic State positions in support of Iraqi ground troops, but Obama has balked at again sending in U.S. ground forces.

Trump described former U.S. national security contractor Edward Snowden, now living in Russia after leaking a vast cache of details about U.S. surveillance programs, as a "total traitor ... a disgrace."

Iran nuclear deal

He called Secretary of State John Kerry "incompetent" for his negotiation of the international deal to restrain Iran's nuclear program and predicted that "Iran will end up being nuclear."

Trump, who is reported to be a multibillionaire, is self-funding his campaign and told reporters at the State Fair in Iowa Saturday that he would be willing to spend a billion dollars of his own money on his campaign. Most of his opponents are relying on extensive fundraising efforts.

The leading Democratic presidential contender, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has attempted to group Trump with other Republican candidates who U.S. political analysts believe will eventually overtake him, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, also from Florida.

"Don't let the circus distract you," Clinton told one political rally on Friday. "If you look at their policies, most of the other candidates are just like Trump, without the pizzazz or the hair."