Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Tuesday he is open to “softening” laws dealing with illegal immigrants in a “Hannity” town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
His remarks were the latest sign he is considering softening a position he has taken since the onset of his campaign.
Hannity asked Trump if he would change current parts of the law to accommodate law-abiding citizens or longtime residents who have raised children in the U.S.
"There could certainly be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people," Trump answered. "We want people -- we have some great people in this country."
"We have some great, great people in this country. But we’re going to follow the laws of this country and what people don’t realize -- we have very, very strong laws,” he told Hannity.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump has reiterated that if he is elected in November, he would deport the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
He also said he wanted to follow the laws on immigration policy instead of creating new ones.
“We want to follow the laws, you know, we have very strong laws in this country. And you know Bush, and even Obama, sends people back. Now, we can be more aggressive on that but we want to follow the laws," he told Hannity. "If you start going around trying to make new laws in this country it’s a process that’s brutal. We want to follow the laws of the country, and if we follow the laws we can do what we have to do.”
During the town hall, the billionaire businessman polled the audience about what they would do about the immigration policy.
"So you have somebody who's been in the country for 20 years, has done a great job, and everything else," Trump said. "Do we take him and the family and her and him or whatever and send him out?"
His question was met by some cheers over suggestions that immigrants be allowed to stay, while others responded in roars when he suggested deporting them.
The Republican nominee then said he "would come out with a decision very soon" about deportations.
Trump had been scheduled to outline his immigration policies on Thursday in Colorado, but that speech has since been postponed, likely until next week.
His latest comments at the town hall come as he may be moving away from one of his signature proposals during the Republican primary. During an interview Monday on “Fox & Friends,” Trump suggested he wanted a “fair, but firm” immigration policy.
During early days of the primaries, Trump vowed to use a “deportation force” to round up and deport millions of illegal immigrants.
Trump promised that victims of illegal immigrant crime have not died in vain.
“All we can say, because the loss is beyond anything we can even think of, so all we can say is that they will not have died in vain because we won’t let it happen to others," Trump said.
The celebrity businessman, however, has stuck to his vow to build a wall to fortify the nation's southern border with Mexico and to deport immigrants here illegally who have committed criminal and violent acts.
"On trade, they’re absolutely killing us, they’re killing us," Trump told Hannity. "They’re killing us at the border, they’re killing us on trade; we have a trade deficit with Mexico of close to 60 billion dollars a year. So, right there you can build a wall because the wall’s a fraction of that."
At a rally in Austin later Tuesday, Trump made no mention of his possible shift on deportations, instead repeating his vow to build a wall to fortify the nation's southern border with Mexico and to eject immigrants here illegally who have committed criminal and violent acts.
Trump at several recent rallies has urged African-American voters to support him, pledging that his public safety and economic policies will improve their quality of life while suggesting that Democrats had taken them for granted.
And aides said Tuesday that in the coming weeks Trump was planning trips to urban areas to conduct campaign stops he has largely avoided to this point, including stops at charter schools, small businesses and churches in black and Latino communities.
The Trump campaign's potential plans to visit inner cities were first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.