While Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has indicated that he is softening on his proposed deportation force, he remains adamant he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Aug. 22, Trump sat down with Fox News’ Sean Hannity for a town hall in Austin, Texas. Trump stated that constructing a border wall was still on his agenda.
“We’re going to build a wall,” Trump told Hannity. “Yeah, 100 percent. It’s so simple.”
While the business mogul was firm on upholding his campaign promise of constructing a wall, he signaled that he plans on backtracking on his previous proposal to deport all estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
“There certainly can be a softening because we’re not looking to hurt people,” Trump told Hannity. “We want people -- we have some great people in this country.”
The GOP nominee’s comments follow speculation he plans to pivot on the issue of immigration. On Aug. 20, Trump allegedly told Hispanic leaders in a private meeting that he would offer a path to legalization for immigrants in the country without permission.
Sources present during the meeting at Trump Tower told Univision News that Trump was open to changing his previous stance of no tolerance towards immigrants in the country illlegally.
Immigration lawyer Jacob Monty of Texas recalled that Trump had offered to include a path to legal status “that wouldn’t be citizenship but would allow them to be here without fear of deportation.”
Trump was touted to unveil his revised immigration plan during a speech in Colorado on Aug. 25. That campaign event has since been canceled, the Houston Chronicle reports.
During the town hall, Trump suggested he would simply continue the Obama administration’s policy of only deporting immigrants who break U.S. laws. The big difference would be that he would pursue the policy more aggressively.
“Bush and even Obama sent people back so we can be more aggressive with that, but we can follow the laws,” Trump told Hannity.
The GOP nominee’s comments drew some murmuring in the audience, with one man responding, “Don’t back down, Donald.”
On Aug. 24, Trump’s running mate, Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, echoed the real estate developer's stance during a radio interview.
“Individuals who have committed crimes in this country are going to go, and they’re going to go very quickly to be processed for a justice system and out of this country,” Pence said, according to the Washington Examiner. “Beyond that ... stay tuned.”