House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Thursday disavowed Donald Trump’s one-time pledge to establish a “deportation force” in order to initiate a large-scale deportation of undocumented immigrants and their families.
In response to a question from an audience member at a CNN town hall who said she was was protected by President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Ryan said he was for “controlling” the border and ensuring that “violent criminals, repeat offenders” are kept out of the country. But he told the woman that she needn’t worry about a “deportation force.”
“When people get confidence in this country that our border is secured, that our laws are being enforced, then I really believe the country— all people in the country will be in a much better position to fix these thornier, bigger problems,” he said. “But if you’re worried about, you know, some deportation force coming, knocking on your door this year, don’t worry about that.”
Host Jake Tapper asked if Ryan would introduce legislation to prevent information in the DACA database from being used to deport people.
“Everybody thinks that there’s some deportation force that’s being assembled. That’s not happening,” Ryan answered, dodging the question.
“But that’s why people think it,” Tapper countered.
“I know, I know. And I’m here to tell you, in Congress, it’s not happening,” Ryan said.
Earlier, Ryan had said that he agreed with “what our new, incoming president has stated he wants to do” and avoid separating families.
Trump argued at one point during the campaign that in his administration, “we’re going to try and bring them back rapidly, the good ones,’’ referring to families with U.S.-born children.