Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has abandoned his call to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, instead saying he would send convicted criminals to their home countries and handle other immigration residency disputes much the way the country does now.
Trump, a real estate mogul making his first run for elected office, told Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly late Monday, "The first thing we're going to do if and when I win is we're going to get rid of all of the bad ones."
"We've got gang members, we have killers, we have a lot of bad people that have to get out of this country," he added. "We're going to get them out, and the police know who they are. They're known by law enforcement who they are. We don't do anything. They go around killing people and hurting people, and they're going to be out of this country so fast your head will spin. We have existing laws that allow you to do that."
As for the remainder of immigration cases, Trump said, "We're going to go through the process, like they are now, perhaps with a lot more energy, and we're going to do it only through the system of laws."
Trump noted, "What people don't know is that (President Barack) Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country. (President George W.) Bush, the same thing. Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws. Well, I'm going to do the same thing."
Backtracking on deportation force
For a year, Trump has told voters he would create a deportation force to send all immigrants living in the United States illegally, the vast majority from Mexico and Central America, back to their homelands, allowing some of them to return through an administrative process.
"They have to go," he said at one point, twinning his deportation stance with his vow to build a wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico to thwart the flow of more migrants into the United States.
Earlier Monday, in another interview, he rejected the idea that he was "flip-flopping" on the deportation issue. He has not ended his vow to build the wall.
Trump has adopted his new immigration stance as he faces daunting odds in his contest against Democrat Hillary Clinton to win support from Hispanic and African-American voters in the November 8 election to pick the successor to Obama when he leaves office in January.
Clinton lead among minority voters
A new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll Tuesday shows Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, with a wide advantage over Trump among minority voters, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. electorate.
The survey said Trump, a one-time television reality show host, holds a 50 percent to 41 percent edge over Clinton among white voters. But blacks favor Clinton, the wife of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, by an 87-8 margin, Hispanics by a 73-22 ratio and Asians by a 66-23 advantage.
Overall, NBC said Clinton holds a 50 percent to 42 percent lead over Trump, virtually unchanged from her nine-point edge a week ago in a previous poll by the news organization. An average of numerous national polls compiled by realclearpolitics.com shows Clinton with a 5.5 percentage point lead.
Clinton's lead in the NBC poll narrows in a four-way matchup that also includes Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party contender Jill Stein. Then, NBC said the polling showed Clinton at 43, Trump 38, Johnson 11 and Stein 5.
Trump on Monday also demanded an independent special prosecutor be appointed to investigate connections between the Clinton Foundation, founded by Clinton and her husband to promote charitable ventures throughout the world, and the State Department she headed from 2009 to 2013. Emails have surfaced showing that foundation officials often asked Hillary Clinton's top aides to connect the foundation's biggest donors with key officials at the State Department.
Clinton discounts jabs about her health
Clinton appeared Monday night on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" comedy show, mocking Republicans' "wacky strategy" claiming that she is not healthy enough to become president. At one point, she opened a new jar of pickles, to show her hand strength.
Both candidates are attending fund-raising events Tuesday, Trump in the solidly Republican southwestern state of Texas and Clinton in the equally Democratic western state of California.