NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - While some believe Donald Trump is softening his position on immigration, the head of the state Republican party is attempting to clarify things. He says "the wall" may not be a solid one, but it will serve its purpose as promised by the president-elect.
"He's not going to go door-to-door and chase people out of their house," said GOP Chairman Roger Villere.
During the campaign, candidate Trump called for the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and the deportation of millions of people here illegally, and that's something that is opposed by Catholic Charities.
"We have a huge mess, and we need to fix it, but it should be done in a comprehensive way," said Catholic Charities Division Director Martin Gutierrez.
Recent Trump statements saying there could be fencing instead of a wall on the border have some believing the president-elect is softening his position.
"It's encouraging to hear some of the things we are hearing, but we hope that at the end of the day we will get some kind of immigration reform," said Gutierrez.
"I don't believe he's softened anything at all," said Villere.
Catholic Charities, which helps serve the local immigrant population, wants immigration reform and they say mass deportation is impossible.
"Within the undocumented population, there are those who should be deported, but the huge majority are law abiding who should become citizens of the U.S.," Gutierrez said.
Catholic Charities says it's lobbying for an immigration policy that makes sense, and they say they are not in favor of a free ride for anyone.
"We do not support amnesty. We believe in an earned legalization process where people who have been here can earn status," said Gutierrez.
The head of the state GOP says that's not likely to happen.
"I think you will see immediately we will be closing the borders with people being sent home," said Villere.
But Villere says Trump shouldn't be taken too literally, especially when it comes to that wall
"I don't think he meant every part would be a solid wall. He's not gonna go in the middle of rivers and things like that," said Villere.
Villere said the president-elect is committed to creating a barrier that works and a policy that will require future immigrants to enter the U.S. legally if they hope to eventually become U.S. citizens.
After years of debate, Villere says he fully expects the incoming Trump administration to make good on immigration reform, now that he's got a Republican Congress.
Meantime, he said Trump remains committed to deporting anyone here illegally who commits a crime.