House Speaker Paul Ryan says he doesn't approve of fellow Republican Donald Trump's immigration reform plan, telling a TV audience that he doesn't have to agree with every one of the presumptive nominee's policy positions in order to support him for president.
Ryan's comments came during a CNN "town hall" event, a week before Republican bigwigs will converge on Cleveland for the party's national convention.
Trump has said he plans to deport illegal immigrants from the country using a program similar to the one President Dwight D. Eisenhower employed in 1954, when a small number of raids caused a mass exodus of illegal immigrants who feared they'd be rounded up next. Trump said he believes a new effort would have the same effect, prompting immigrants to leave on their own.
“I don’t agree with that," Ryan told the CNN audience, according to The Hill. "I don’t think rounding up 11 million people A) is the right thing to do, B) would work. And I don’t think you’d like to see what we’d have to do to the country to do that.”
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Instead, the Wisconsin Republican said, immigration reform should first focus on making sure illegal immigrants cannot simply return to the U.S. if they're deported, while taking away incentives to cross the border in the first place.
“I think you have to secure the border," Ryan said, "you have to have reforms that get people out of the shadows and get right with the law and make sure while you are securing the border, you are fixing what’s broken in the legal immigration system."
Ryan did not elaborate on how to secure the border during the CNN event, but he's addressed the issue in previous interviews, including a June 12 appearance on ABC News' "This Week."
"I think securing the border is a realistic proposal. We can debate about how best to secure our border. ...," Ryan told ABC. "If you talk to the experts on the border, there are places where walls are necessary, but there are places where fences and other kinds of things are necessary."
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During the CNN event, a woman in the audience asked Ryan how he can support Trump despite the latter's call for a temporary ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. Ryan said he's not in lock step with Trump, but said the real estate mogul would be a better president than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Ryan chided Republicans who say they won't vote for Trump.
"That basically means you're going to help elect Hillary Clinton," Ryan said, per NBC News. "And I don't think Hillary Clinton is going to support any of the things that you stand for if you're a Republican."