Republican party presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, on Sunday, backtracked on the most popular element of their immigration policy.
According to The NewYork Post, Pence said that Trump would not use a "deportation force" to implement mass roundups of some 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
He also termed Trump’s “deportation force” as “a mechanism, not a policy.” According to The NewYork Times, he also backed away from Trump’s opposition to automatic citizenship for children born in the US to illegal immigrants.
He was appearing on CNN’s State of the Union and promised that Trump would soon come out with a detailed immigration plan in the next two weeks.
CNN’s Jake Tapper kept pressing Pence on the issue of deportation force. However, Pence only said, “There will be no path to legalisation, no path to citizenship. People who want to gain legal status – you heard Donald Trump say again and again – will have to leave this country.”
Pence added, "You couldn't have a more clear choice between Donald Trump and me, who will end illegal immigration in this country, and Hillary Clinton."
In recent days, Trump has reflected a “softening” on the issue and then reversed himself after fierce criticism from conservatives.
Trump's confused stance
Trump said during a Fox News townhall on “Hannity” that he is open to “softening” his stance on 11 million illegal people.
However, just days later, he argued on CNN that his position against undocumented immigrants is hardening.
Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway claimed that Trump has rarely mentioned his proposed deportation force and suggested he would consider backing away from the plan while talking to Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, reported The Business Insider.
Similarly, On CBS's "Face the Nation", Conway said that Trump isn't focused on a deportation force but would improve agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce existing immigration laws.
However, Pence maintained that "Nothing has changed about Donald Trump's position on dealing with immigration."
Trump reiterated his stand on Monday on "Fox and Friends" and said that he was not making a U-turn on his deportation stand. "I am not flip-flopping," he said.
"We want to come up with a really fair, but firm answer. It has to be very firm. But we want something fair, " he added, according to Daily News.
Trump's initial stand
According to a CNN report, Trump had said that he would build a deportation force to deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants in the US.
"You're going to have a deportation force, and you're going to do it humanely," he had said. In his immigration proposal, he had also included a call to triple the number of immigrations and customs enforcement agents. He had also proposed ending birthright citizenship, which is included in the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution and grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in the US.
According to The Atlantic, he claimed that the force would send the immigrants "back to where they came from."
"You have millions of people who are waiting in line to come into this country, and they are waiting to come in legally," he had added.