Newly-elected Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday that he does not support Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's plan to forcefully deport 11 million illegal immigrants.
"I can't image how it would happen - so no," Ryan said in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes," when asked if he agreed with Trump's call for mass deportations.
Trump's controversial deportation plan has become a prominent part of his campaign and is influenced by former President Dwight Eisenhower's deportation directive, called "Operation Wetback," a program that managed to deport an estimated 1 million illegal Mexican immigrants in the 1950s, according to ABC News.
Many hardline conservatives back the idea, but Ryan, who previously called for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, said Sunday that he still prefers a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants "as a way to make amends with the law."
"It starts with border enforcement," he told CBS, reports The Huffington Post. "It starts with enforcing the rule of law. But you need to have a vibrant, legal immigration system. Legal immigration is America. I think you could have a pathway to legal status. Earn your way to legal status, but not to citizenship."
Ryan declared earlier this month that he would not tackle immigration reform until President Obama leaves office in January 2017, arguing that Obama's executive amnesty actions on immigration have proven him to be "untrustworthy on this issue," since he tried to go around Congress.
Despite his unwillingness to work with Obama on immigration, Ryan said Sunday he would cooperate with the president on various policy issues. He said that the two have already discussed "things we can get working together on, things that we have to get done by the end of the year," such as highway spending, reaching a budget agreement and tax policy, according to The Fiscal Times.
"I think you can walk and chew gum at the same time. I think you can oppose the president on some issue that you fundamentally disagree with, but also work with the other party on issues you do agree with," Ryan said.
"We talked about having teenage daughters too," Ryan added, jokingly.