Republican nominee Donald Trump promised a new, positive relationship with Mexico, an end to trans-border crime and a wide-ranging revamp of U.S. immigration policies that will only let in newcomers who “love us.”

“It’s our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us,” Trump said in a highly anticipated speech in Arizona. “But to fix our immigration system, we must change our leadership in Washington and we must change it quickly. … The truth is our immigration system is worse than anybody ever realized.”

Trump also stressed his administration would have “zero tolerance” for criminal aliens. “Zero. Zero. They don’t come in here.

“For those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only: to return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else … there will be no amnesty.”

In one apparent deviation from his otherwise disciplined adherence to his script, Trump said of rival Hillary Clinton, “Maybe they’ll be able to deport her.”

The transcript of Trump’s speech can be read here.

Trump hoped, with his speech, to clear up confusion over his policy after conflicting statements from advisers in the last week, suggesting he was wavering. It followed Trump’s high-stakes trip to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto yesterday, aimed at boosting Trump’s limited foreign policy chops and letting him appear presidential on an international stage, while ending accusations of anti-Mexican bigotry.

“I just landed, having returned from a very important and special meeting with the president of Mexico, a man I like and respect very much and a man who truly loves his country, Mexico, by the way, just like I am a man who loves my country, the United States,” Trump said.

“We agreed on the importance of ending the illegal flow of drugs, cash, guns and people across our border and to put the cartels out of business,” Trump said. “We also discussed the great contributions of Mexican-American citizens to our two countries, my love for the people of Mexico and the leadership and friendship that we have between Mexico and the United States. It was a thoughtful and substantive conversation and it will go on for a while and in the end we’re all going to win — both countries — we’re all going to win.

“This is the first of what I expect will be many, many conversations — and in the Trump administration we’re going to go about creating a new relationship between our two countries. But it is going to be a fair relationship. We want fairness.

“There is only one core issue in the immigration debate and that is the well-being of the American people. Nothing even comes a close second,” said Trump, who drew cheers and shouts of “USA! USA!” as he touted his policy proposals and decried President Obama’s actions.

Mired in disappointing poll numbers and reeling from self-inflicted controversies over the past few weeks, Trump made the bold move to dominate the news cycle and — he hopes — breathe new life into the campaign with just over two months until Election Day.

Trump said removing people who overstay visas will be “a top priority,” and proposed “extreme vetting” to exclude potential terrorists.

He took aim at sanctuary cities, promising to cut off federal funding, and to strike down Obama’s “unconstitutional” executive orders.

He also blasted Clinton for lacking any plan to curb illegal immigration.

“She’ll be a disaster for our country,” Trump said.

Relatives of Americans killed by illegals took the stage with him, including Maureen Maloney, the mother of Matthew Denice, 23, of Milford, who was dragged to death by a drunk-driving Ecuadorian illegal in 2011.

Trump and Nieto discussed Trump’s plan for a border wall. “At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made clear that Mexico would not pay for the wall,” Nieto tweeted afterward.

Trump countered in his speech in Arizona last night, “Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent. They don’t know it yet — but they’re going to pay for the wall. They’re great people and they have great leaders but they’re going to pay for the wall.”

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(c)2016 the Boston Herald

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