Obama calls Trump's plan to deport illegal immigrants unrealistic: ABC

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Obama On Trump: The American People Deserve Better

President Barack Obama said on Thursday Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's plan for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants is unrealistic.

"The notion that we're gonna deport 11, 12 million people from this country - first of all, I have no idea where Mr. Trump thinks the money's gonna come from. It would cost us hundreds of billions of dollars to execute that," Obama said in a White House interview with ABC News, according to excerpts released by the network.

SEE MORE: Trump touts program with dark history as deportation model

"Imagine the images on the screen flashed around the world as we were dragging parents away from their children, and putting them in what, detention centers, and then systematically sending them out," the president said. "Nobody thinks that is realistic. But more importantly, that's not who we are as Americans."

Trump, a real estate billionaire who has been leading in opinion polls among candidates for the Republican nomination in the 2016 election, calls for deporting all illegal immigrants and has said he would get the Mexican government to pay for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Related: See immigration protests throughout California

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Obama calls Trump's plan to deport illegal immigrants unrealistic: ABC
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 7: Anti-immigration activists protest outside of the U.S. Border Patrol Murrieta Station on July 7, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Immigration protesters have staged rallies in front of the station for about a week in response to a wave of undocumented immigrant children caught along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and transported to the Murrieta facility while awaiting deportation proceedings. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 7: Anti-immigration activist Sabina Durden (R) and immigration sympathizer Mary Estrada (L) debate during a protest outside of the U.S. Border Patrol Murrieta Station on July 7, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Immigration protesters have staged rallies in front of the station for about a week in response to a wave of undocumented immigrant children caught along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and transported to the Murrieta facility while awaiting deportation proceedings. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Bikramjit Singh, 9, center, and his sister Parneet Kaur, 11, immigrants from India, joined more than a dozen other young people who took an oath of citizenship,Thursday, July 2, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. The children, aged 6-17, each have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen and became U.S. citizens after their parents were naturalized. They were presented certificates of citizenship as part of Independence Day celebrations. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Irma Castillo, outreach coordinator with United Farm Workers Foundation, left, gives Erica Montoya, 32, right, paperwork during an immigration workshop in Hanford, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 19, 2015. President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in November as a response to Congress' unwillingness to update a policy that both parties agree is flawed. Recipients would enter the formal economy with work permits and Social Security numbers, creating a legal workforce for businesses, greater security for themselves and revenue for government coffers. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Juan Barbosa, 23, of Bakersfield, looks at a confirmation of petition acceptance for his application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) employment authorization renewal at the United Farm Workers Foundation offices in Bakersfield, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 19, 2015. President Barack Obama announced his DACA program in November as a response to Congress' unwillingness to update a policy that both parties agree is flawed. Recipients would enter the formal economy with work permits and Social Security numbers, creating a legal workforce for businesses, greater security for themselves and revenue for government coffers. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
EL MONTE, CALIFORNIA , DECEMBER 10, 2014: Letisia Huertado (left) helps Destiny Valle (middle) and Ashley Vargas (right) construct sentences in their first grade class at Parkview School, on December 10, 2014 in El Monte. State education officials are preparing to issue the first report documenting the number of students who have continued to struggle with substandard English for more than 7 years, even though most of them were born in the United States. But some schools have developed effective programs to prevent young children born to immigrant families from becoming so-called long-term English learners. (Photo by Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA OCTOBER 3, 2014 -- Josephine Lopez, 84, from Perris Ca, joins immigrant-rights supporters celebrating the passage of AB 60, which will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses starting in January 2015 on Friday October 3, 2014. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
GRANADA HILLS, CA - JANUARY 2, 2015: Immigrants without legal status line up to apply for California driver licenses at DMV offices January 2, 2015 in Granada Hills. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
GRANADA HILLS, CA - JANUARY 2, 2015: Immigrants without legal status line up to apply for California driver licenses at DMV offices January 2, 2015 in Granada Hills. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Children of poor migrant families receive backpacks filled with school supplies before the start of the new school year during a charity event at the Los Angeles Mission's 'skid row' headquarters on August 9, 2014. US conservatives recently commented on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's 'war on poverty' to dispute the effectiveness of existing policies, and urge a welfare state overhaul. Five decades and trillions of dollars after President Johnson waged his war on poverty they said a staggering 49 million Americans are still living below the poverty line AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 7: Immigrant rights activist Mary Estrada (R) speaks with anti-immigration activists during a protest outside of the U.S. Border Patrol Murrieta Station on July 7, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Immigration protesters have staged rallies in front of the station for about a week in response to a wave of undocumented immigrant children caught along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and transported to the Murrieta facility while awaiting deportation proceedings. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA OCTOBER 3, 2014 -- Axel Paredes, 40, an immigrant (undocumented) worker who has been in the US for 10 years celebrates with supporters the passage of AB 60, which will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses starting in January 2015 outside city hall Friday, October 3, 2014.. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Children hold banners and placards while listening to speakers at a rally outside the 9th Circuit federal court in Pasadena, California on July 16, 2015, where Immigrant rights organizations, labor, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients from Arizona and Los Angeles gathered. After a multiple-year legal battle, the state of Arizona's embattled efforts to deny driver's licenses to immigrants who have been granted DACA under a federal program will face what could be yet another blow to Arizona when the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hears oral arguments this Thursday in a lawsuit brought by civil rights groups challenging the discriminatory policy. AFP PHOTO/ FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA FEB. 17, 2015: Immigration reform supporters listen to speakers talk about expanded federal immigration programs that will allow millions of immigrants to stay in the country and receive work permits for three years at Los Angeles City Hall Monday, Feb. 17, 2015. Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo joined Rep. Judy Chu and others to talk about expanded federal immigration programs that will allow millions of immigrants to stay in the country and receive work permits for three years. One of the programs, which applies to people who arrived in the country as children under the age of 16, will be expanded on Wednesday. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Immigrant Jose Montes attends an event on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, DAPA, part of the immigration relief program, downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The White House promised an appeal Tuesday after a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration and gave a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit aiming to permanently stop the orders. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Public officials and immigration reform advocates rally outside the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors headquarters after announcing the launching of the statewide campaign Ready California Tuesday, May 19, 2015. The effort aims to prepare immigrants about the immigration relief plans offered under alliesPresident Barack Obamaâs executive actions. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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The immigration issue has driven a wedge between Hispanics, a voting bloc with increasing clout, and Republicans, many of whom take a hard line on illegal immigration, to the benefit of Obama's fellow Democrats. Most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants are Hispanic.

Obama said there has always been a streak of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States. "We don't want, I think, a president or any person in a position of leadership to play on those kinds of fears," he told ABC.

SEE MORE: Trump's mass deportation idea was tried in the 1930s

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday the Mexican government would not build or pay for Trump's proposed wall, CNN said.

The network said when Kerry was asked about the proposal in an interview on CNN's Farid Zakaria GPS program, he replied: "I knew you were trying to drag me right into the middle of the presidential politics ... I think it's a foregone conclusion that Mexico is not going to build that wall."

SEE MORE: Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)

SAP is the sponsor of this coverage which is independently produced by the staff of Reuters News Agency.

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