Donald Trump says he's going to deport up to three million undocumented immigrants immediately

After it appeared he would waffle on many of his primary policy positions, the President-elect still intends to launch widespread deportations once he takes office

Feliks Garcia
New York
Sunday 13 November 2016 17:02 GMT
Trump: We're going to deport millions

Donald Trump has said he will deport two to three million undocumented immigrants “immediately” upon taking office – while urging protesters angry at his election not to be afraid of his presidency.

In his first television interview since winning the presidential election, Mr Trump insisted that he is going to carry out his hardline immigration policy proposals, while insisting that he would build a wall between the US and Mexico.

He also moved to assure his core supporters that he will not let them down on gun rights, abortion or immigration.

“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million – it could be even three million – we are getting them out of the country or we are going to incarcerate,” Mr Trump told 60 Minutes.

“Be we’re getting them out of the country, they’re here illegally.”

He explained that once the border is "secure", then the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will assess the status of the remaining undocumented immigrants in the country.

"After the border is secure and after everything gets normalised, we’re going to make a determination on the people that they’re talking about who are terrific people, they’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that," he said. "But before we make that determination... it’s very important, we are going to secure our border."

Corbyn: Donald Trump should 'grow up' over immigration

The Republican billionaire - whose shock election on a populist and anti-immigration platform has spurred days of protests - also told demonstrators they have no reason to fear his presidency.

"Don't be afraid. We are going to bring our country back," he said in the interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."

Trump said he was "saddened" by reports that incidents of harassment and intimidation of minorities had spiked since his election - and called for it to end.

"I hate to hear that. I am so saddened to hear that," Trump said when asked about the reports. "If it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it."

Of course, it still remains unclear how Mr Trump plans to carry out this proposal. Undocumented immigrants are entitled to full removal proceedings in immigraiton court. And as the courts already have a major backlog of hearing, there would be no immediate removals. Additionally, he fails to explain how his policy would be different from the current law in place under the Obama administration, which prioritises removal of immigrants convicted of criminal offences.

Mr Trump did offer minor details about the wall he plans to build – namely, that a portion of it would not be a wall at all – describing an iteration of the boundary between the two countries that essentially already exists.

"There could be some fencing," he said. "For certain areas I would [accept a fence], but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction."

The President-elect's comments about mass deportations stand at odds with a statement made by Paul Ryan, the highest ranking Republican, on Sunday morning.

"We are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump’s not planning on that," Mr Ryan told CNN.

"I think we should put people’s minds at ease: That is not what our focus is. That is not what we’re focused on. We’re focused on securing the border," he added. "We think that’s first and foremost, before we get into any other immigration issue, we’ve got to know who’s coming and going into the country – we’ve got to secure the border."

Mr Ryan's remarks seemed to indicate yet another U-turn in policy proposals for the President-elect. On Friday, he told the Wall Street Journal that he would more than likely keep some parts of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as "Obamacare", rather than completely repealing it.

"Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced," Mr Trump told the newspaper following his 90-minute meeting with President Barack Obama. "I told him I will look at his suggestions and, out of respect, I will do that."

While Mr Obama said he felt "encouraged" by the Thursday meeting, a signifcant number of Americans believe Mr Trump's election will mark a dark, new phase for the United States, as he intends to dismantle much of the sitting President's legacy.

Millions of protesters took to the streets after election night to protest over Mr Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton. While the New York businessman did win enough electoral votes to make it to the White House, Ms Clinton took the popular vote – more than any US president in history, with the exception of Mr Obama.

Protests filled roads in major cities, like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, and echoed with chants of "not my president" and "dump Trump". Dissenters are using the protests to rebuke the racism and bigotry promoted by the Trump campaign, as manifested through policy proposals like building a wall along the border, mass deportations, and the blockade of Muslim immigrants.

Mr Trump's victory has galvanised white supremacists across the country, as a wave of reported hate crimes reaches new highs.

Neo-Nazi and Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin exalted Mr Trump as a "God Emperor" following Tuesday night's election results.

"Our Glorious Leader has ascended to God Emperor. Make no mistake about it: we did this. If it were not for us, it wouldn’t have been possible," he wrote. “[T]he White race is back in the game. And if we’re playing, no one can beat us. The winning is not going to stop."

The Ku Klux Klan also announced a victory parade for the beginning of December in North Carolina.

Civil rights organisations are preparing themselves for the incoming Trump administration. The American Civil Liberties Union published a full-page ad in the New York Times with an open letter threatening to sue Mr Trump.

"if you do not reverse course and endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality," the ACLU wrote, "you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at your every step."

Here are 7 things we learnt from his interview:

He plans to appoint a 'pro-life' judge to the Supreme Court

Republicans have worked hard to ignore President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in hopes of a conservative administration. Now that Mr Trump is the President-elect, he plans to fill the late Judge Antonin Scalia's seat with someone who would likely vote to overturn Roe v Wade.

When asked about this, he confirmed that his appointees "would be pro-life", which could lead to states issuing bans on abortion. He added that women who seek abortions “perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state”.

Ms Stahl asked if he felt that was OK, and he responded: "We'll see what happens. It's got a long way to go, just so you understand. That has a long, long way to go."

Up to three million people will be deported

During his campaign, Mr Trump insisted he would deport every last undocumented immigrant living in the US, a group thought to number around 11 million. In his 60 Minutes interview, however, the President-elect said he would only send home "criminals".

Trump: We're going to deport millions

Describing migrants without criminal records as “terrific people,” he said his administration would “get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers… We are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate.”

Mr Trump put the number of people who fall into that category at “probably two million, it could even be three million.” Over his eight years in office, Barack Obama has deported more than 2.5 million people, more than any previous president.

The ‘wall’ on the Mexican border will be part-fence

Mr Trump launched his campaign last year on a promise to build a wall the length of the US-Mexican border. While many were sceptical that he meant it literally – including his own supporters – the property developer insisted he meant a genuine wall of steel and concrete.

For some, Donald Trump's dark border dreams are already a reality

It seems now, however, that people may have been right not to take the pledge entirely seriously. Asked by Ms Stahl whether some of the wall would in fact be a fence, he replied: “There could be some fencing.” In fact, some 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border is already fenced. But, said the President-elect, in “certain areas, a wall is more appropriate.”

He dismisses fears of people of colour and Muslims

Reports of hate crimes spiked in the first days after Mr Trump's election. Muslim women have reported assaults, while vandals have allegedly scrawled pro-Trump slogans and swastikas on homes and businesses across the country. Many credit the wave to his anti-immigrant and bigoted rhetoric espoused on the campaign trail, celebrated by white supremacists.

But Mr Trump sees these reports as minor incidents amplified by a biased media.

"I think it’s horrible if that’s happening,” he said. “I think it’s built up by the press because, frankly, they’ll take every single little incident that they can find in this country, which could’ve been there before. If I weren’t even around doing this, and they’ll make into an event because that’s the way the press is.”

For his part, Mr Trump called on alleged attackers and vandals to stop, if they are in fact carrying out these attacks.

“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, because I’m going to bring this country together,” he said. “And I say, 'Stop it.' If it — if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

Obamacare might not be entirely repealed, after all

Republicans have been saying for years that they want to repeal and replace Obamacare, and Mr Trump took up that cry on the campaign trail. Since meeting with President Obama at the White House on Thursday, however, he has somewhat moderated his tone on the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Donald Trump shifts his position on Obamacare during CBS 60 minutes interview

In the 60 Minutes interview, he suggested he would like to keep the law’s provisions allowing children under 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance plans and banning the denial of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, which he said was one of the ACA’s “strongest assets.”

Amid fears that repealing Obamacare would lead to a long period without health coverage for those affected, he claimed the law would be repealed and replaced “simultaneously,” saying: “We’re not going to have a two-year period when there’s nothing… It will be great healthcare, for much less money.”

He may turn to Hillary Clinton for advice

In the run-up to election day, Mr Trump was threatening to prosecute and jail Hillary Clinton. By the morning after, he was praising her for her public service and her grace in defeat. When she conceded the loss in a phonecall, she “couldn’t have been nicer,” he said, calling his opponent “very strong and very smart” and noting that the call was “tougher for her than it would have been for me.”

The President-elect revealed that former President Bill Clinton had also called to congratulate him and “couldn’t have been more gracious,” Mr Trump said. “He said it was an amazing run — one of the most amazing he’s ever seen,” Trump said. “He was very, very, really, very nice.”

Most remarkably, Mr Trump said he might even consider turning to the Clintons for advice during his presidency. “I mean, this is a very talented family,” he said. “Certainly, I would certainly think about that.”

He won’t be giving up Twitter, but he’ll try to be ‘restrained’

On Friday, as the interview was filmed, Mr Trump promised to be “very restrained” in his use of Twitter as President. By Sunday, when the interview was broadcast, he had already attacked demonstrators protesting his election victory and the New York Times, suggesting both a lack of restraint and a lack of regard for the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Describing Twitter as “a great form of communication,” Mr Trump credited social media for his victory in an election fight with the far more organised Clinton campaign. “It does get the word out. When you give me a bad story or when you give me an inaccurate story… I have a method of fighting back,” he said.

“I really believe that the fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera – I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent…. I think social media has more power than the money they spent.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in