Reince Priebus Says Self-Deportation Is ‘Not Our Party’s Position’ — But It Is

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March 18, 2013 1:16 p.m.

RNC chair Reince Priebus, promoting a new RNC report calling on the party to support immigration reform, told CNNs Wolf Blitzer Monday that he was disappointed with Mitt Romney’s handling of the issue. But he understated just how close Romney’s position was to the broader GOP at the time.

“One of the issues that I think really cut pretty badly within the Hispanic communities [was] when Mitt Romney talked about self-deportation,” Priebus told CNN. He added that “it’s a concept that really doesn’t — it’s not our party’s position. But it was something that i think hit every Hispanic kitchen table across america.”

Despite Priebus’ stated shock at the idea undocumented immigrants should be expected to “self-deport,” Romney’s plan actually is the party’s position today. According to the GOP platform approved by the RNC last year under Priebus’ stewardship, “We will create humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily, while enforcing the law against those who overstay their visas.” In addition, the current GOP platform declares that “State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked.” The laws its referring to, like Arizona’s SB 1070, are the at the core of the “self-deportation” concept as they’re designed to make life for undocumented immigrants so difficult that they decide to leave on their own accord.

Update: Asked for comment about the discrepancy, RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski e-mailed: “In meeting after meeting the phrase self-deportation was brought up as a problem that we need to address and the chairman has been clear he agrees.”

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