Donald Trump, who has angered many immigrant rights activists with inflammatory comments since he started his campaign, said Sunday that if he were to become president, those in the country illegally would “have to go.”
“We're going to keep the families together ... but they have to go,” Trump said, noting that as commander in chief he would reverse President Obama's executive orders that offer some protections to those in the country illegally. “We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in, they have to come in legally,” he said.
The GOP candidate, in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," said he would end Obama's Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which allows young people brought to the country illegally to work and attend college without facing deportation.
Also Sunday, Trump released an immigration plan that includes the billionaire's standard talking point on the issue: building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He also called for ending birthright citizenship, tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers along the border and the “mandatory return of all criminal aliens.”
The Democratic National Committee called Trump's plan an obsession with "mass deportation."
"The GOP should quit treating these families as second-class citizens and join Democrats who support immigrant families and want to keep them together,” said Pablo Manriquez, DNC director of Hispanic Media.
In the NBC interview, Trump called for U.S. ground troops to be deployed to Iraq to defeat Islamic State militants by taking away their oil supplies.
“I've been saying, 'Don't go into Iraq.' They destabilized the Middle East. It was a big mistake,” he said about the Iraq war. “OK, now we're there. And you have ISIS [another designation for Islamic State]. And ISIS is taking over a lot of the oil and certain areas of Iraq. And I said you take away their wealth, that you go and knock the hell out of the oil, take back the oil. We take over the oil, which we should have done in the first place.”
Trump also said he supports affirmative action and gay rights.
“I'm fine with affirmative action. We've lived with it for a long time. And I lived with it for a long time. And I've had great relationships with lots of people,” he said.
When asked if private companies should be allowed to fire a person because he or she is gay, Trump said he doesn't“ think it should be a reason.”
In several national polls, Trump leads the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
UPDATE: 11:15 a.m. - This post was updated with additional comments from the Democratic National Committee.