President Trump described his administration's deportation policy as a "military operation" on Thursday, while his Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly promised that there would be not be "mass deportations" or military force used against undocumented immigrants.
"There will be no, repeat no, mass deportations", Kelly said during a news conference in Mexico City after meeting with Mexican ministers. "There will be no use of military force for immigration operations."
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer clarified that Trump meant "military" as an "adjective," and not in reference to the deployment of the National Guard to assist with deportations.
"The President was clearly describing the orderly and professional manner in which his executive orders are being implemented, and the administration's emphasis on removing serious criminals here in the U.S. illegally," he said.
Tensions between Mexican and American officials have seemingly intensified since the Trump administration on Tuesday rolled out its revised deportation policy, which, among other things, calls for the deportation of non-Mexicans to Mexico.
"I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other," Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said on Wednesday.
U.S. officials said that the trip Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took to Mexico was intended to promote positive relations between the countries.
"We're going to have a good relationship with Mexico, I hope. And if we don't, we don't," Trump said Thursday.
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