By Rebecca Savransky
August 23, 2016
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Tuesday defended Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's position on immigration, saying the first thing that needs to get done in the country is ending unlawful immigration.
"Well, he didn't soften his position on ending the illegality and creating a lawful system that protects the interests of our national security from terrorists and also doesn't flood the labor market with more workers than we've got jobs for," Sessions told reporters before a Trump rally in Texas, according to a transcript of the comments.
Before rally, Jeff Sessions had bit of an awkward Q+A w/ press, bit flummoxed by Trump "softening" comments:
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) 10:08 PM - 23 Aug 2016
But the Alabama senator did indicate Trump is having trouble with the issue of whether people who have been in the country illegally for a long time and haven't caused any trouble should be removed.
"Donald Trump is wrestling with that issue," Sessions told reporters.
"I fundamentally believe that the first and foremost priority is to fix the unlawful immigration. That's got to stop. And only once that's done, then you can begin to talk about what we should do in proper way for people who've been here a long time."
Trump on Tuesday indicated he may be open to some changes in immigration laws.
"There certainly can be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people," Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night.
Trump's openness to "softening" comes amid new questions about his position on the issue.
The GOP nominee has, in the past, called for some kind of deportation force to remove the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
But on Sunday, Trump's new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said it is "to be determined" if the candidate's immigration plans would include such a force.
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