Reince Priebus: 'You're Not Going to Have a Pathway to Citizenship With Donald Trump'

Susan Jones | August 29, 2016 | 5:12am EDT
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U.S.-bound immigrants jump on a train during their journey toward the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP File Photo)

( - Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus says he knows Donald Trump: "I talk to him every day. I know what he's thinking about a lot of these issues," he told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

And when it comes to immigration, Priebus said he knows that Trump is going to be "tough," but also "fair" and "humane." "You're not to have a pathway to citizenship with Donald Trump," Priebus said.

"He's going to build and complete the border wall that was set in place in 2006 by Congress. It's going to be paid for," Priebus said. "I believe that he is going to, when he talks about deportation, he's going to go after people who are here and are criminals and shouldn't be here."

Asked if that includes people who broke the law by crossing the border illegally, Priebus was noncommittal: "Well, look, I mean, those are the things that Donald Trump is going to answer -- and this is not obviously a simple question."

Priebus said Trump is "reflecting" on that question: "But here is the thing...He's a guy who's going to be tougher on this issue, tougher on illegal immigration than any politician that we've ever had as a nominee or ever could have as a nominee. That's not going to change. He's going to be a law-and-order candidate..."

Host Chuck Todd asked Priebus, "Do you agree with some of the...analysis that says, oh, this is Jeb Bush's policy?"

"No, I really don't, because I think that you're not going to see an easy path to legalization. You're not going to see that in a Donald Trump plan."

Priebus described Jeb Bush's plan as "an easier path to legalization. I think the Gang of Eight was an easier plan to legalization, an easier plan to citizenship. You're not going to have a pathway to citizenship with Donald Trump. That's off the table. There is no method by which someone is here illegally that is going to become a citizen and jump the line, as Hillary Clinton wants to do."

Asked if Trump will call for an end to birthright citizenship, Priebus said, "You're going to have to ask him."

But speaking as head of the Republican Party, Priebus said he is "comfortable" with the fact that U.S. citizenship is granted to anyone born on U.S. soil.

Todd asked Priebus, "So your advice to him would be, don't be touching birthright citizenship?"

"A nominee is not -- does not have the -- doesn't have to adopt every single position and platform position of the Republican Party," Priebus responded.

Trump plans to give a major speech on immigration on Wednesday in Arizona.

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