Donald Trump.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under CC BY-SA

Questions were swirling Sunday about whether Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump could soon change course on one of his most foundational issues - his hardline stance against illegal immigration.

Trump met Saturday with a group of Hispanic leaders in New York and broadcaster Univision reported after the meeting that Trump would present a plan this week to legalize millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

Such a move would mark a major shift from vows to deport 11 million with a deportation force and to build a wall along the US border with Mexico to keep out those unauthorized to enter the country. Trump began his campaign with a strong denunciation of illegal immigration and has since made it a central part of his campaign.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN on Sunday that Trump's remarks a day earlier "differed very little from what he's said publicly."

However she said it was "to be determined" whether Trump would seek to enact a so-called deportation force as he had previously pledged and said discussions were about how to be "fair and humane" to those living in the United States.

Others at the meeting disputed the characterization of Univision's report, with Republican staffer Helen Aguirre-Ferre telling Breitbart News that Trump did not speak in favour of offering legal status to some legal immigrants.

The news site's executive chairman Stephen Bannon was named chief executive of Trump's campaign last week.

Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign said in a statement Sunday that they believe Trump continues to advocate his previous anti-immigration policies.

"We believe the (Republican National Committee) official in the room, the campaign's statement after the meeting and the candidate himself that Donald Trump's immigration plan remains the same as it's always been: tear apart families and deport 16 million people from the United States," campaign chairman John Podesta said.

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