WASHINGTON: Donald Trump will keep his vow to deport millions of undocumented migrants from the United States, he said in an interview to be broadcast Sunday, saying as many as three million could be removed after he takes office.
“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 in an excerpt released ahead of broadcast by CBS’s 60 Minutes program.
The billionaire real estate baron made security at the US-Mexico border a central plank of his insurgent presidential campaign, which resulted in last Tuesday’s shock election victory against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Trump added that the barrier to be erected on the US border with Mexico may not consist entirely of brick and mortar, but that fencing could be used in some areas.
“There could be some fencing,” Trump says in his first primetime interview since being elected president last week.
“But (for) certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction,” he tells CBS.
He left the door open, however, on the fate of the millions of other immigrants in the country illegally.
“After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about who are terrific people,” he said.
Immigration, he said, was one of three top legislative priorities he has discussed with House Speaker Paul Ryan, the others being action to undo Obama’s signature health care reform and a bill to cut taxes and simplify the tax code.
Trump also vowed to move aggressively on a conservative agenda in filling Supreme Court vacancies, cracking down on immigration and cutting taxes, but also sought to reassure worried Americans they have nothing to fear from his presidency.
Setting aside the strident tone of his campaign, the 70-year-old assumed a gentler manner in his first television interview since his shock election, saying he was “saddened” by reports of harassment of Muslims and Hispanics, and telling the perpetrators: “Stop It.”
The interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which was taped Friday and aired in full Sunday, offered Trump an opportunity to reintroduce himself after an ugly, name-calling campaign and surprise victory that sparked protests in cities across the United States.
“I just don’t think they know me,” the billionaire real estate mogul said at one point, of the thousands of protesters who have massed in streets below his Trump Tower headquarters with signs that read “Not our president.”
Told that many Americans are scared of his presidency, Trump said: “Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back.”
Trump made it clear he intends to aggressively push a right-wing agenda, pledging to name justices to the Supreme Court who are against abortion and for gun rights.
“The judges will be pro-life,” Trump told CBS. “In terms of the whole gun situation,” he added, “they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment.”
He will have an immediate opportunity to fill a vacancy on the court left by the death of arch conservative justice Antonin Scalia. President Barack Obama’s attempt to fill the seat was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate.
He also confirmed he would forgo the $400,000 salary that comes with the office of US president.