WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that there will not be a deportation force tasked with evicting illegal immigrants from the U.S.
“That’s not happening,” he said during a televised town hall meeting. “That’s not true.”
President-elect Donald Trump made immigration one of his top priorities during his campaign. He received rousing responses each time he vowed to deport people who are in the country illegally — up to 11 million.
That position softened after Trump won the election, when he said he'd start with 3 million with criminal records.
Angelica Villalobos, who was standing next to her daughter, asked the speaker if he thinks she should be deported.
“No,” Ryan said. “I can see that you love your daughter, that you’re a nice person that has a great future ahead of you, and I hope your future’s here.”
Instead, Ryan said Trump has asked lawmakers to focus on two priorities with respect to illegal immigration: securing the border and deporting immigrants who are violent, repeat criminals.
House GOP lawmakers and aides have also said recently they’re working on how to pay for border security to make good on Trump’s promise of building a wall on the border with Mexico, although at least initially taxpayers would foot the bill - not Mexico, as Trump promised.
The Associated Press contributed to this report