BORDER SUMMIT: Trump agrees to meet with Mexican president ahead of immigration policy speech

 

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has accepted an invitation to visit Mexico from President Enrique Pena Nieto ahead of Trump’s immigration policy speech in Arizona.

Nieto confirmed that Trump accepted the invitation and that the two would meet in private Wednesday.

The visit will come as Trump looks to clarify his stance on immigration, which is the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Trump has called for the deportation of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. and building a wall along the Mexican border, while having Mexico pay for it.

Recently, Trump has signaled he would soften his stance a bit after meetings with Hispanic leaders and a special “Hannity” town hall last week.

Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump wants to find “the fair and humane way” to address the issue, which includes whether to separate families to enforce federal law.

Last week, Mexican President Nieto — who has been critical of Trump’s insistence that Mexico would pay for the wall — invited both the Republican nominee and Democrat Hillary Clinton to visit his country. Trump confirmed on Twitter late Tuesday that he had accepted Nieto’s invitation.

 Clinton’s campaign said in a statement that Trump’s trip to Mexico ultimately doesn’t matter in the long run.

“From the first days of his campaign, Donald Trump has painted Mexicans as ‘rapists’ and criminals and has promised to deport 16 million people, including children and U.S. citizens. He has said we should force Mexico to pay for his giant border wall.  He has said we should ban remittances to families in Mexico if Mexico doesn’t pay up.

“What ultimately matters is what Donald Trump says to voters in Arizona, not Mexico, and whether he remains committed to the splitting up of families and deportation of millions.”

A senior campaign official told Fox News that Clinton will meet with Nieto at the “appropriate time.”

The Washington Post first reported the potential of a trip.

Trump is scheduled to speak on immigration Wednesday evening in Phoenix. He was already out West on Tuesday for a campaign stop near Seattle, conceivably giving him enough time to jet down to Mexico for a brief visit before the evening speech.

Foreign trips by presidential candidates, even to a neighboring country such as Mexico, are an enormous logistical and security undertaking. It’s unclear whether Trump could receive clearance from Secret Service to make the trip or whether his small campaign team could organize the logistics in time for even a short visit.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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