Telemundo anchor presses Trump after he claims Latino voters support deportations

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE asserted in an interview set to air Thursday night that Hispanic voters support his immigration agenda, including his threat to deport large numbers of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Trump sat for his first Spanish-language television interview with Telemundo, during which anchor José Díaz-Balart noted that there are some Latino voters who "fear" the president's rhetoric on immigration and his threat to deport "millions of people."

ADVERTISEMENT

"They want me to do it. They’re here illegally," Trump said.

"Mr. President, they do not," Díaz-Balart responded.

"They do," Trump reiterated. "They don’t want to lose their jobs. They want to keep their salaries, their wages up, and they don’t want crime. When people come through, you have MS-13 coming through."

Díaz-Balart pushed back, telling Trump MS-13 gang members do not make up the majority of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. 

"The mothers that are coming with their children are not MS-13," he said.

"I agree, but if it was 1 in 100 it’s too many," Trump responded.

The interview was conducted in English, but dubbed in Spanish on Telemundo.

Trump tweeted late Monday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would start next week "removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States."

The New York Times reported Tuesday that ICE has been preparing to carry out a widespread blitz of deportations, but that the agency could not immediately deport the "millions" of people Trump had referred to.

Trump has taken a hard line on immigration since he launched his first campaign for president, and has indicated the issue will remain a cornerstone of his reelection bid.

He threatened earlier this year to shutter the U.S.-Mexico border if Mexican officials did not agree to take action to curb the flow of migrants toward the U.S., and vowed this month to impose tariffs on Mexico.

Trump said in his interview with Telemundo that Mexico has thus far taken sufficient steps to cut down on the flow of migrants, but noted he's still willing to impose tariffs if necessary.

"This week I consider them a friend," Trump said of Mexico. "They’ve ben doing a great job, actually."