Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – President- elect Donald Trump will deport or incarcerate up to three million “criminal” immigrants currently in the United States with relative speed, he said over the weekend, outlining his plans for his first days in office.
Vowing to follow through on his campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration, Trump also promised to build a wall on America’s southern border with Mexico.
The protective barrier may in certain sections be a fence, he told CBS’ 60 Minutes.
“But certain areas, a wall is more appropriate,” Trump said. “I’m very good at this, it’s called construction, there could be some fencing.”
Donald Trump victory speech
Trump launched his campaign for president calling for a dramatic crackdown on immigration, and visiting Capitol Hill on Thursday, he characterized the issue as his top priority entering the White House.
His second and third top priorities are healthcare reform – the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare – and “big league” job creation.
“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 our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump said. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”
Trump has offered several inconsistent proposals on immigration over the course of the last year, but his overall message has been clear: Those who have or plan to enter the US without proper documentation will be deported or go to jail. What is unclear is how he will treat the families of those who have been in US without paperwork for years, if not decades, including those that have children who are American citizens because they were born in the US.
While Trump has walked back his proposal to set up a deportation force, the president- elect now says he plans to increase manpower for immigration law enforcement threefold.
Responding to questions from reporters on the Hill, the president- elect declined to answer whether he will ask Congress to legislate on a campaign policy proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US.
Trump is currently hunkered down with his inner circle at Trump Tower – his home and longtime office in midtown Manhattan – constructing a presidential administration virtually from scratch after his surprise election victory last week.
His choice of chief of staff is said to be imminent, but that is just the beginning: Trump must fill a cabinet and hire more than 4,000 people to run the federal government.
The Republican garnered 60.3 million votes on Tuesday, winning in the Electoral College decisively but losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, who secured 60.8 million votes.
Protests against Trump’s victory continued throughout the weekend in several American cities, in part fueled by aggravation over the Electoral College system, in which less populous states have a greater say on the results per capita. The last time a Democrat won the popular vote but not the presidency was in 2000, when Al Gore narrowly lost his race for the White House against George W. Bush.