U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Bloomberg/Getty Images
November 12, 2015 8:10 PM EST

President Obama said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants unrealistic and is “not where we are as Americans.” Trump has said he would use a “deportation force” to remove undocumented immigrants from the country.

In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Obama said he has “no idea where Mr. Trump thinks the money is gonna come from” to deport over 11 million people from the country, saying it would take “hundreds of billions of dollars” to do so. What’s more, Obama said the idea is morally off-putting.

“Imagine the images on the screens flashed around the world as we were dragging parents away from their children and putting in what, detention centers, and then sending them out,” Obama said Thursday. “Nobody thinks that is realistic. But more importantly, that’s not where we are as Americans.”

President Obama said government leaders should not play into the anti-immigrant sentiment that persists in pockets of the country, a sentiment that he believes has led many Americans to support Trump’s plan.

“We don’t want, I think, a President or any person in a position of leadership to play on those kinds of fears,” Obama said.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

You May Also Like