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Donald Trump to deliver highly anticipated immigration speech following Mexico visit

Phoenix (CNN)Donald Trump faces one of the most crucial days of his campaign Wednesday as he travels to Mexico to visit that country’s president and then heads to Arizona to deliver a highly anticipated speech that will seek to clarify his controversial immigration policy.

The speech is expected to lay out a range of policy prescriptions to stem the tide of illegal immigration and follows a week during which Trump and his campaign publicly wrestled with how to handle the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US.
    It’s an especially fraught moment for the Republican nominee because he surged to victory in the primaries with hardline rhetoric against illegal immigration, including a pledge to deport all undocumented immigrants. But he appears poised to strike a more moderate tone that could appeal to suburban white voters in the general election without alienating his base.
    Trump began his week of public handwringing on the issue by vowing last Monday that he was “not flip-flopping” on immigration, but that he was looking to “come up with a fair but firm process.”
    The next day, he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that “there could certainly be a softening” of his deportation policy and suggested his administration would “work with” undocumented immigrants, rather than deport them — which would mark a major flip-flop. But two days later, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he would offer “no path to legalization” and suggested deportation was back on the table.
    Meanwhile, his campaign scrapped plans for Trump to deliver his immigration speech last Thursday in the battleground state of Colorado and then dismissed reports Trump speak on immigration Wednesday in Phoenix, until Trump tweeted he would in fact deliver the speech there.
    Democrats have seized on Trump’s refusal to disavow his mass deportation plan, while Trump’s most right-wing supporters have struggled to save face amid the real estate mogul’s waffling. And some moderate Republicans have cautiously embraced Trump’s apparent tone shift.
    Trump’s campaign has remained tight-lipped on the content of the speech, but Trump’s son, Donald Jr., said Tuesday on CNN that the speech won’t address every aspect of Trump’s immigration policy but that the campaign would “continue to lay things out in the coming weeks and months.”
    But any distance Trump takes from his proposal to deport all estimated 11 million undocumented immigrations via a “deportation force” would mark a major flip-flop on the very issue that drew many Trump supporters to the billionaire’s brazen outsider candidacy.
    “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. Some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said launching his candidacy last summer.
    Within weeks, he was vowing to deport all undocumented immigrants.
    “You’re supposed to come in legally. I would get people out and I would have an expedited way of getting ’em back into the country so they can be legal,” Trump told CNN’s Dana Bash in July. “We will find them, we will get them out.”
    But it’s possible Trump will glaze over the fate of the 11-plus million undocumented immigrants living in the US in his speech Wednesday despite hammering his bold plans to deport them all throughout the Republican primary — a policy position that drew millions of Republican primary voters to his campaign and helped Trump cast his opponents as weak, ineffective and tied to the failures of Washington.
    While rarely raising his deportation plans, Trump has consistently and vociferously pledged his commitment to building a border wall, leading his supporters in a boisterous call-and-response chant of “Who’s going to pay for the wall?” to a resounding “Mexico!”
    Trump’s campaign surrogates in recent days have slammed the media for focusing on those 11 million people, instead touting Trump’s commitment to first deporting undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the US and his plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico, and make that country pay for it.
    And they have also rejected the notion that Trump is softening his stance — despite Trump using that specific word last week.
    “He wasn’t softening on anything. He didn’t change his stance on anything,” Donald Trump, Jr. told Cooper on Monday, adding that Trump’s policy on deportations has “been the same.”
    Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry asserted Monday on Fox News that “Donald Trump’s not softening his position on immigration.”
    “I think there’s a lot of talking heads that try to get, you know, ‘I’ll grab a word here, I’ll grab a word there.’ Donald Trump is going to secure that border,” he said.
    Trump’s speech comes at a critical juncture for his candidacy, which has stared down deficits in every major national poll in the last month as well as in a slew of polls in key battleground states.
    And in Arizona, a state Republican nominees carried in the last four presidential elections, Trump is only maintaining a slight polling lead over Clinton.
    Sen. John McCain, who is supporting Trump’s bid but has also publicly warred with Trump, will not attend Trump’s speech Wednesday, which comes a day after McCain won his Senate primary election.
    “Senator McCain is spending a much-deserved day off with his wife, Cindy, at their home in Sedona,” a McCain aide told CNN on Wednesday.
    Trump has sought to flip his fortunes by shaking up his campaign leadership — ditching his campaign chairman Paul Manafort in favor of hiring a new campaign manager and chief executive — and ramping up outreach to minority communities, notably African-Americans and Hispanics.
    In doing so, Trump has argued that those minorities have been the most affected by undocumented workers taking low-wage jobs and by the crime Trump claims undocumented immigrants have contributed to society — despite lacking the evidence to back up a connection between undocumented immigrants and higher crime rates.
    Hispanic leaders and Republicans mindful of the party’s need to draw in Hispanics to remain competitive in years to come have stressed the need for Trump to move beyond his deportation policy proposal and begin addressing other ways to deal with the undocumented population.
    Asked whether “building the wall or doing something with the 11 million here illegally” was more important, Trump’s new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway didn’t hesitate.
    “It’s absolutely building the wall,” she said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/31/politics/donald-trump-immigration-speech/index.html

    Pea Nieto’s making a dangerous gamble with Trump’s Mexico visit | Daniel Pea

    The beleaguered Mexican president, battered by one scandal after another, hopes that the meeting might boost his approval ratings. But will it backfire?

    Outside of their respective hairstyles, questionable real estate dealings and plagiarism scandals, President Enrique Pea Nieto and Donald Trump dont seem to have much in common. So why then would Pea Nieto seemingly out of the blue invite Trump to Los Pinos? At first glance, the timing of it might seem strange. Except its not at all.

    Trump memorably launched his campaign in 2015 by comparing Mexicans to rapists and criminals. He later promised to erect a border wall (which Pea Nieto has publicly refused to build) while also pledging to deport 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. Pea Nieto, on the other hand, has gone so far as to liken Trump to Hitler and Mussolini for that kind of rhetoric.

    And yet, those spats arent getting in the way of a meeting. Its reported that neither the US embassy in Mexico nor the Mexican government were given advance warning about the visit. And though Pea Nieto did extend invitations to both Hillary Clinton and Trump to meet with him in Mexico City, its easy to see that both Pea Nieto and Trump have something to gain from this particularly timely visit.

    Trump stands to bolster his ever-loosening grip on his campaigns trademark issue, immigration, ahead of his big speech in Arizona on Wednesday. Pea Nieto, meanwhile, stands to salvage his waning poll numbers now hovering around 23% according to one recent survey by looking like he is standing up to Trump. The visit is also a timely distraction from embarrassing reports, which have dominated recent headlines, that he plagiarized his law degree thesis.

    This weeks bad press, which includes the sacking of Mexicos police commissioner following allegations of cartel executions, follows months of looming scandals plaguing his own administration. These include large teacher strikes, allegations of the use of torture on ordinary citizens and most recently reports that the Mexican first ladys home is owned by a potential government contractor. All of the above have sent Mexican confidence in its president plunging.

    The embarrassing thing is that we can actually see Pea Nietos logic at work in real time as this disaster unfolds. The president thinks that he will see the bad man, appear stern to the bad man, tell everyone that he was indeed stern to the bad man and then his poll numbers will rise. Easy. Theres only one problem with this plan. Trump may well hijack that narrative, frame the meeting to his advantage and then straight-up lie about the details in Arizona with a straight face.

    Pea Nieto, with his credibility already weakened internationally, would be easy prey. His name is almost synonymous with the brand of poor Mexican governance that Trump rails against in his anti-immigrant tirades all over the country. And even if Pea Nieto does a good job in standing tall to Trumps xenophobic, anti-Nafta, pro-wall rhetoric, the president risks everything should the Republican candidate choose to exploit his numerous political weaknesses. That would not just be damaging to him, but to Mexicos international reputation at large.

    Thats why many fear this gamble can only go well for Trump. And if this meeting teaches us anything its that Pea Nieto is willing to risk Mexican ire and possible geopolitical consequences if only to save his own political career.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/31/pena-nieto-mexico-visit-trump-approval-ratings-backfire

    Mexican president’s family faces calls for investigation into Miami apartment

    Oppositions parties and Mexican media alleged cronyism after Guardian report revealed property arrangement between Pea Nietos wife and Ricardo Pierdant

    Political and civil society leaders in Mexico are calling for an investigation into the first familys use of a luxury apartment in Miami, which has raised the spectre of a fresh conflict-of-interest scandal.

    Opposition parties demanded that authorities investigate the property arrangement between a Miami-based Mexican businessman and Anglica Rivera, the wife of President Enrique Pea Nieto.

    Mexican newspapers and social media have led an outcry, alleging cronyism, since the Guardian reported the arrangement on Tuesday.

    The revelation has prompted fresh scrutiny of the embattled presidents ethics following an earlier scandal over his familys purchase of a Mexico City mansion, known as the Casa Blanca, from a government contractor.

    Suspicion in the latest case focuses on why the businessman, Ricardo Pierdant, let the first lady use the $2.05m Miami apartment and also why one of his companies paid close to $30,000 in property taxes on her behalf for a neighbouring apartment which she owns.

    The two main opposition parties have asked for an investigation into the Miami apartments, which are in Ocean Tower One in Key Biscayne. Photograph: Handout

    Pierdant is a close friend of the first family and his company, Grupo Pierdant, was expected to bid for lucrative contracts to run Mexicos ports.

    The first lady cannot receive lucrative favours without authorisation from the federal executives legal counsel, an oversight agency, wrote Salvador Camerana, a columnist, in El Financeiro. The president of the republic cannot accept that his friends extend favours worth thousands of dollars to him, his wife, their children or to their collaborators.

    Eduardo Bohrquez, head of the advocacy group Transparency Internationals Mexico chapter, told the Wall Street Journal that the first couple faced renewed scrutiny. It reignites the discussion over the links that the president and his wife have with businessmen, particularly the type of relation that they could have with someone who pays your property taxes.

    The two main opposition parties, the National Action party (PAN) and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) have asked for an investigation into the Miami apartments, which are in Ocean Tower One, a gated community with a pool, tennis courts and white glove concierge in Key Biscayne, an affluent enclave in Miami-Dade County.

    Such an investigation would probably be the responsibility of federal auditors and the comptrollers office.

    In a statement, Eduardo Snchez, the presidents spokesman, said that the first lady used Pierdants apartment only on rare occasions and that there was no conflict of interest because the businessman had no federal government contracts and was not participating in current bids.

    The spokesman declined to say why Pierdants company, Biscayne Ocean Holdings, paid taxes in 2014 on the first ladys apartment, unit 404, which is directly beneath his own unit 304.

    In a statement the spokesman also questioned the Guardians veracity and claimed the newspaper had apologised several years before over a separate story about the president. The Guardian has not apologised for its reporting.

    Pierdant, the co-founder of DecoBikes, a bicycle-sharing program in Miami and San Diego, has declined to speak to the Guardian, but a Mexican news website quoted him saying the first lady, a former telenovela star, asked him to handle the property tax and reimbursed him.

    At the time Pierdant bought the Key Biscayne apartment in 2009 he was overdue on mortgage payments for another Coral Gables property, according to court documents seen by the Wall Street Journal. Asked by Univision how he could afford to pay one apartment in cash while owing money on another property, Pierdant was quoted as saying: I had the money available.

    The outcry over the first familys property dealings in Miami comes at a delicate time for Pea Nieto, who is battling a sluggish economy and rampant crime. A poll taken before the current row showed his approval ratings dropping to 23%, his worst showing since taking office in 2012. The newspaper Reforma said it was the lowest approval rating for a president since it began publishing similar polls in 1995, just after a huge currency devaluation.

    The Miami property arrangements have fuelled unease because they echo aspects of the first ladys purchase of a $7m mansion in Mexico City from another businessman with government contracts the so-called Casa Blanca (White House) scandal.

    It landed like a bombshell in 2014, wrecking Pea Nietos reformist credentials and reviving longstanding concerns about corruption in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI).

    The first lady later returned the property and last month Pea Nieto apologized, saying the scandal had dented faith in the presidency and government. For this reason, with all humility I ask your forgiveness.

    The president made the apology as he signed into law an anti-corruption system that his PRI party hopes will boost its credibility in the run-up to the 2018 presidential election.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/12/mexico-president-pena-nieto-wife-miami-apartment

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