Paul Ryan

Representative Paul Ryan leaves a House Republican Conference meeting on Oct. 21, 2015, at the Capitol in Washington. (Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Kasia Klimasinska
November 15, 2015 — 4:00 PM PST

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he supports allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. without gaining citizenship, and that he doesn’t believe mass deportation, an idea promoted by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, is feasible.

Immigration “starts with border enforcement,” Ryan said in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that will air on Sunday, according to a transcript provided by the network. “It starts with enforcing the rule of law. But you need to have a vibrant, legal immigration system. I think you could have a pathway to legal status. Earn your way to legal status, but not to citizenship.”

When asked whether he advocated the deportation of some 11 million undocumented immigrants now estimated to be living in the U.S., the Republican from Wisconsin said, “I do not. I can’t imagine how it could happen. So no.”

Ryan, 45, who was chairman of the the House tax-writing panel before becoming the leader of the chamber in October, said he wants to reform and simplify the tax code. He favors reducing the number of tax brackets to two or three, cutting rates for companies to enhance job prospects, and changing how businesses are taxed on their international operations so that employers repatriate overseas earnings.

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