GOP Chairman Reince Priebus said it wouldn't be practical to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants and that steps toward legalization should be considered.
“We never said a pathway to citizenship, and I tend to believe that legalization or some kind of legalization is the proper route, not necessarily citizenship,” Priebus told Fox News, according to Buzzfeed.
Priebus went on to say mass deportation would not be a feasible tactic.
“That’s not what the autopsy said; the autopsy said that we needed comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. “Well, you and I and everyone listening know that your version of comprehensive immigration reform, my version, Rand Paul’s version, Ted Cruz’s version, you know, and someone else’s version, is a different version.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stole the spotlight from the other GOP contenders during their party's primary when he disparaged Mexican immigrants and promised to deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants if elected president.
But in recent days, Trump has suggested alternative options to deal with undocumented immigrants who have not committed crimes and have already been in the U.S. for extended periods, although he has taken citizenship off the table.
"No citizenship. Let me go a step further -- they'll pay back-taxes, they have to pay taxes, there's no amnesty, as such, there's no amnesty, but we work with them," Trump told Fox News.
He continued: "Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out. But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject -- and I've had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me -- and they've said, 'Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump,' I have it all the time. It's a very, very hard thing."
Priebus said the GOP will follow the lead set by Trump regarding immigration.
“I’ll wait and see what Donald Trump ultimately decides. I’m not convinced he’s comfortable with the idea of trying to deport 12 million people,” Priebus said, according to Buzzfeed. “It’s not a practical place to be and I don’t necessarily think he was there.”