Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Monday he wanted a “very fair but firm answer” when it came to dealing with the nearly 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States. The statement was a shift from his previous hard-line approach to tackling illegal immigration.
Earlier, Trump had promised to be very tough on illegal immigration, calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” and vowing to deport every single one of them.
Speaking to Fox News Monday, Trump said, “We have to be very, very strong when people come in illegally. We have a lot of people that want to come in through the legal process, and it's not fair for them. We're working with a lot of people in the Hispanic community to try and come up with an answer. ... No, I’m not flip-flopping. We want to come up with a really fair but firm answer. That’s — it has to be very firm. But we want to come up with something fair,” the real estate mogul said.
This is a huge turnaround from his previous statements, an indication that Trump might be paying heed to the suggestions of his top advisers. In an interview with CNN, when asked about Trump’s stance on mass deportation, his new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said it was “to be determined.”
“What he [Trump] supports is to make sure that we enforce the law, that we are respectful of those Americans who are looking for well-paying jobs and that we are fair and humane for those who live among us in this country,” Conway said.
In a meeting Saturday with his Hispanic advisory council, Trump reportedly said that he wanted to find a “humane and efficient” way to deal with illegal immigration in the country.
But his plan for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is still on the table. “We’re going to build the wall, folks,” the 70-year-old New Yorker reportedly said Monday at a rally in Akron, Ohio. “That wall will go up so fast your head will spin. You’re going to say ‘He meant it!’”