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Donald Trump's mass deportation plan now in question

Trump campaign challenges

After Donald Trump convened several Hispanic leaders in New York Saturday to discuss strategy for a campaign struggling with minorities, media outlets reported that the Republican nominee seemed to be softening his previous primary stance on illegal immigrants in the United States.

Univision, citing sources who attended the Trump Tower meeting, said Trump was planning to announce proposals that would legalize some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. Buzzfeed News reported that Trump was looking to be “humane” in dealing with the undocumented population. The reports seemed to signal a shift in Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, after months of the candidate backing mass deportations and even proposing last November in an MSNBC interview that “you’re going to have a deportation force.”  

But is Trump actively reversing his positions on deporting undocumented immigrants?

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Officials with the Trump campaign say: No, not really.

Late Saturday, Steven Cheung, Trump’s rapid response director threw cold water on the media reports of the New York meeting with Hispanic civic, faith, and business leaders.

“Mr. Trump said nothing today that he hasn’t said many times before, including in his convention speech—enforce our immigration laws, uphold the Constitution and be fair and humane while putting American workers first,” Cheung said. “Today’s conversation was productive and enlightening, and Mr. Trump looks forward to speaking with these leaders again soon and often.”  

And when it comes to a deportation force specifically, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s newly minted campaign manager, was questioned three times Sunday on CNN about the issue.

Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash whether Trump still supported setting up a deportation force, Conway responded: “What he 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. And as the weeks unfold,  as the weeks unfold he will lay out the specifics of that plan that he would implement as president of the United States.”

Bash continued to press the issue: “Will that plan include a deportation force?”

Conway replied: “To be determined.”