SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson jabbed Tuesday at front-runner Donald Trump's proposal to deport everyone who is in the country illegally, calling the plan impractical.
"People who say that have no idea what that would entail" legally and otherwise, Carson said, adding: "Where you going to send them?"
The retired neurosurgeon spoke before The Commonwealth Club of California on Tuesday in a 75-minute event in which he took questions from the audience on topics ranging from abortion to immigration, taxation to race relations.
Carson's longshot candidacy is buoyed by humor and a self-deprecating demeanor that some would-be voters say they find refreshing. Trump, the brash front-runner in the GOP nomination fight, has made immigration a centerpiece of his candidacy. Trump says he would deport those living in the country illegally — estimated at 11 million people.
Carson said he would secure the border, but also grant guest-worker status to people who are in the country without documentation. That way, they can pay taxes and come out from the shadows, he said.
Mass deportation, he said, would be expensive and impractical, and crippling to the hotel and agriculture industries.
San Francisco venture capitalist Scott Russell, an unaffiliated voter, called Carson charismatic, yet positive.
"He wasn't trying to attack other candidates or trying to say negative things," Russell said. "I like people who describe their policies, but don't spend their minutes trying to attack others."
Carson is scheduled to attend a rally in Anaheim, California, on Wednesday.