WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) — House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said a deportation force to remove millions of undocumented immigrants under President-elect Donald Trump‘s administration is “not happening.”
Ryan made the comment during a CNN town hall event on Thursday after he was confronted by Angelica Villalobos, an undocumented woman from Oklahoma who is protected from deportation under President Barack Obama‘s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“Do you think that I should be deported?” Villalobos, alongside her daughter, asked Ryan.
“No,” Ryan said. “I can see that you love your daughter, that you’re a nice person that has a great future ahead of you, and I hope your future’s here.”
One of Trump’s campaign promises was to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, while another was that he would deport millions of undocumented immigrants — starting with those who are criminals.
Ryan said he would work to carry out Trump’s immigration plans of “deporting criminals and securing the border.”
“He’s telling us, ‘It’s one of the top six things I want to get done in this year’s Congress,'” Ryan said referring to Trump’s border proposal. “We said absolutely … We support that, agree with that, and not only that, now we’re working on how to execute that in this new Congress.”
Ryan directly denied Trump’s previous proposal, which the president-elect announced during a speech in August, to establish a “deportation task force” with the role of deporting criminal immigrants.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Ryan if Trump’s planned deportation task force would be ordered to use information immigrants submitted to the government in order to stay in the United States under the Obama administration in order to find them and deport them.
“It’s not happening,” Ryan said. “I’m here to tell you, in Congress, that’s not happening.”
“If you’re worried some deportation force is coming and knocking on your door this year, don’t worry about that,” Ryan told Villalobos, later adding that “everybody thinks that there’s some deportation force that’s being assembled. That’s not happening; that’s not true.”
Ryan also said that “sanctuary cities” — cities that do not deport undocumented immigrants — “are a violation of the rule of law, and they are not to be tolerated.”
“If you want federal assistance, you’re not going to get it. You’ve got to enforce the law,” Ryan said in reference to “sanctuary cities.”