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Trump to Visit Mexico Before Immigration Speech

Trump to Visit Mexico Before Immigration SpeechTrump to Visit Mexico Before Immigration Speech

In a surprise move, Donald Trump will travel to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, just hours before the Republican delivers a highly anticipated speech on immigration.

Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday night to say he looks “very much forward” to meeting with the Mexican leader. Pena Nieto’s office confirmed the meeting with its own tweet, saying the two men would meet privately, AP reported.

The unexpected trip comes as Trump seeks to clarify his stand on illegal immigration, a contentious issue that has been a centerpiece of his Republican presidential campaign. Trump has long called for deporting people currently living in the US illegally and building a wall along the country’s border with Mexico.

But in meetings recently with Hispanic supporters, Trump has suggested he could be open to changing the hardline approach he outlined during the GOP primaries. After one such roundtable this month, his new campaign manager said Trump’s stance on deportations was “to be determined.”

In the days since, Trump and his staff have broadcast varied and conflicting messages, with Trump himself saying one day he might be open to “softening” his stance, and days later saying he might, in fact, be “hardening.”

Pena Nieto has been sharply critical of Trump’s original immigration policy, particularly the Republican’s insistence that Mexico would pay for the border wall. In a March interview, Pena Nieto said that “there is no scenario” under which Mexico would do so.

In the same interview, Pena Nieto compared Trump’s language to that of dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, saying it had hurt US-Mexico relations. Former Mexican Presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon have also alluded to Hitler in describing Trump.

Pena Nieto cast a different tone late Tuesday, writing on Twitter of the visit, “I believe in dialogue to promote Mexico’s interests in the world and, principally, to protect Mexicans wherever they are.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a close Trump adviser, has been among those pushing Trump to make the trip to Mexico, according to a person familiar with their conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss them publicly. Christie made his own successful trip to Mexico City in September 2014 and has a warm relationship with the Mexican president.

Last week, Pena Nieto extended invitations to visit Mexico to both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, who met with him in Mexico in 2014.

Financialtribune.com