While the final presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season started off cordial enough, both candidates took the gloves off when Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace turned the topic toward immigration.
On stage in Las Vegas, Donald Trump laid out his hardline immigration strategy and said that it was a way to get "bad hombres" out of the United States.
“We have some bad hombres here and we need to get them out,” Trump said.
The Republican presidential hopeful reaffirmed his proposal to build a massive wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and deport "some bad, bad people in this country," then afterward figure out who could be readmitted. He also blamed the "bad hombres here" for drug epidemics around the country, and he promises "we're going to get 'em out."
Trump's proposal for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border helped fuel his rise to the Republican Party nomination.
The GOP nominee focused on the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's immigration policy, claiming that she supports "open borders" and "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants already living in the country while quoting from hacked emails released by WikiLeaks to prove it.
Trump quoted part of the speech that was kept secret before the hacked emails were released.
Clinton said in a private speech that her "dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders."
Clinton pointed out that she went on to say that her vision includes "energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere." She added she was talking about open borders for energy, not immigration.
Clinton supports a more lenient policy than Trump, but she still supports a comprehensive immigration overhaul that would include requiring people here illegally to pay back taxes and other penalties. She added that she voted for border security and believes the U.S. is a country of laws, but also a nation of immigrants.
She said she's against ripping families apart, noting that there are an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country who have 4 million American-citizen children.
She portrayed Trump's deportation plan as a logistical nightmare, saying it would force a "massive law enforcement presence" and require shipping people from the country in trains and buses.
“I don’t want to rip families apart, I don’t want to see parents taken away from their children, I don’t want to see a deportation force,” she said. “Under his plan, law enforcement would have to go school to school, home to home.”
Clinton added that she would push for an immigration reform plan within her first 100 days of office.
Clinton accused Trump of employing immigrants in the country illegally and charged that her Republican opponent "exploit(ed) undocumented workers" while building Trump Tower.
Trump hired a contracting firm that employed immigrants in the country to help build Trump Tower in New York. He settled a related court case out of court.
Trump did not refute the charge and instead repeated his promise to deport millions of immigrants in the country illegally if elected. He noted that President Barack Obama has also deported millions of immigrants.
Clinton also said Trump "choked" during a meeting with the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto when he failed to bring up his own plan to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it.
For Trump, the debate marked one of his final chances to reshape a race that appears to be slipping away from him. Clinton's campaign is confidently expanding into traditionally Republican states, while Trump's narrow electoral path is shrinking. The GOP nominee has been battered by recent revelations of his vulgar comments about women and a string of sexual assault allegations.
Clinton began the debate with a lead in most battleground states.
Clinton faced debate questions for the first time about revelations in her top adviser's hacked emails that show her striking a different tone in private than in public regarding Wall Street banks and trade. She quickly turned the discussion to Russia's potential role in stealing the emails.
Trump entered the final debate facing a string of sexual assault accusations from women who came forward after he denied in the previous contest that he had kissed or groped women without their consent. Trump's denial came after the release of a video of in which he's heard bragging about exactly that.
Trump denied the accusations anew, saying the women coming forward "either want fame or her campaign did it."
Clinton said Trump "thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.