At a townhall moderated by NBC's Matt Lauer on the Today Show Monday morning, an undecided Republican voter pressed Donald Trump for specifics on his immigration plan, specifically how he plans to deport millions of illegal immigrants. Transcript via NBC News.
MAUREEN WHITE, UNDECIDED REPUBLICAN VOTER: Mr. Trump, I would like to ask you what your specific action plan would be for dealing with the large number, millions of illegal immigrants currently in the United States that are drawing on our resources.
DONALD TRUMP: Oh, you're going to vote for me because I am only one doing it. If you look at Carson he's very weak on illegal immigration. If you look at bush he said they come in for love. If you look at Rubio, he was a member of the gang of eight, I mean, he's way down anyway, but this guy was so weak and then all of a sudden he said, well, maybe I can't do that because he went down. They are all weak on immigration. I am only one that's really, really strong. Number one, I am building a wall, they are not coming in anymore. Number two, immediately, we're building a wall [ applause ] and by the way, Mexico is paying for the wall. Oh, everyone says how -- it's easy. We're losing $45 billion a year in terms of our imbalance with Mexico. Mexico is paying for the wall. We're building a wall. I get along great with Mexico. I love the Mexican people. They are incredible people and I have thousands of Hispanics that work for me. I was at Doral. Other day, all Hispanic, and they gave me standing ovations.
MATT LAUER, NBC'S "TODAY" SHOW: Let me interrupt you. Specifically, because you used the word specifically.
WHITE: Specific actions please.
TRUMP: Well, for example, just getting 11 million illegal or undocument the immigrants out of the country, transportation, housing. It's called management.
LAUER: What's the specific plan?
TRUMP: You understand I think maybe perhaps better than, that it's called we have a country and they are here illegally and we're going to -- some are excellent people. They are great people and they are going out and going to come back in legally. We'll expedite it. We'll expedite the process but we either have a country or we don't have a country and they are coming back legally and the bad ones are never coming back again. A lot. Gangs that you see in Los Angeles, you see the gangs in Los Angeles? Half of these gangs are made up of illegal immigrants. These are rough dudes. I guarantee you my first day and the cops are fantastic, the police are fantastic. They know the good ones. They know the bad ones.
LAUER: A massive movement of people. Do you have a business plan? Do you have a plan on paper to accomplish it?
TRUMP: We lose $250 billion a year on illegal immigration. That's what we lose. If we clean up the mess, we don't even know -- you said 11 million. Nobody knows what the number is. They are going out and they are coming back in legally. That's the way it has to be.
LAUER: Maureen, did he answer your question specifically?
WHITE: Not quite but I do know -- I have read his position papers, and he does have an outline.
TRUMP: Very detailed. It's very detail the. Do you know that Dwight Eisenhower who is a nice general, in the 1950s, do you know that he moved over a million people out and what he did he brought them to the border and they came right back. Brought them to the border and they came right back and then they took them and moved all the way down south and they never came back but Dwight Eisenhower moved over a million, 1.5 million people back in to the south through the border because it was a huge problem. Nobody ever mentions it. It was a major operation, 1.5 million people which is maybe the equivalent in those days, and he moved them out because we had a huge problem in the 1950s. Nobody ever talks about it.
LAUER: When you fly around the country campaigning and you fly back to New York on your jet and I know you go into La Guardia and I know the path, you go right over the harbor.
TRUMP: La Guardia with the potholes on the runway.
LAUER: You pass the Statue of Liberty.
LAUER: And you look down at that statue and you know the words on the base of that statue, it's not at pop quiz, give me, your tired and poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
LAUER: You've said Syrian refugees fleeing conflict in their country, the ones who come here, they are going back. They are all going back.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you. Right, they are going back.
LAUER: Do they not qualify as the tired and poor and huddled masses.
TRUMP: We're like the caretaker of the world. We owe $19 trillion. We can't breathe -- nobody knows how they are going to get it paid off. I am going to pay it off because we're going to do cutting. Here's a good example. 3,000, then it was 5,000, and now the president wants to bring in 250,000 people who nobody even knows who they are. Other than, and I watch the migration very carefully. They are young, strong men. I say where are the women? Where are the children? You don't see that many women. You don't see that many children. Now, we're going to take in 250,000 people, coming from areas we don't know, no areas, documents, could be the greatest Trojan horse, probably is, but this could be the greatest Trojan horse of all time. Going to take them and put them in our country. It's going to cost, Matt, billions of dollars, just reported over a ten-year period doing that is going to cost billions.
I said if that happens, I am sending them back.
LAUER: Words matter. You just said yourself it could be a big Trojan horse.
TRUMP: Could be.
LAUER: But they are all going back?
TRUMP: Probably is not acceptage. The world probably is not acceptable. These people could be ISIS. They could be fighters. They could be doing something. That's why I say it could be a Trojan horse. Let me just say what should be done, and this also with Germany, they are being swamped. They are destroying -- Merkel what, she's having. She's having riots in the street right now. What should happen is the United States and everybody else, including the Gulf States who are not spending any money and they are as rich as can be, they should build a safe zone. Take a big piece of land in Syria and they have plenty of land, believe me, build a safe zone for all these people because I have a heart. I mean, these people, it's horrible to watch but they shouldn't come over here. We should people a safe zone and put up some money and get the gulf states who are not taking any people and are not putting up any money and they are rich as can be. They have more money than anybody. Get all of these nations to contribute, build a tremendous safe zone so these people with stay there and they are safe and then when that country gets back, they can maybe go back to their homes which is very interesting. People -- even people that work for me, they come from all parts of the world. Their big ambition, no matter what it is, even if it's a country you don't think much of, they all want to go back home. It's an amazing thing. They will come here and they will work and they will be here legally in my case, but they will work, but they all want to go back to their country. It's an amazing thing to see. These people want to go back to Syria. You built a safe zone in Syria. You have people contribute, you do things where you take care of the people because we have to do that, but I don't want 250,000 people coming into the United States, we can't handle it.
LAUER: How many would you take?
TRUMP: I would take none. No, I would take none. I would take none. Right now I would take none. [ applause ] But I will take better care of them, matt, because what I would do is I would take a big swath of land and I would have lots of other people, Germany is crazy what they are doing. They are having riots in their streets right now. These people are coming in and they are having a lot of problems with crime and other things. We have to help these people the. I am okay with it, but they are not coming to the United States, Matt.