For the first time since the election, President-elect Donald Trump has detailed specifics of his immigration policies, vowing to deport some 2–3 million undocumented immigrants and proceed with plans to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico.
In a 60 Minutes interview to air Sunday evening, Trump was asked about his immigration campaign promises and said that he plans to immediately deport 2–3 million undocumented immigrants upon taking office, with immigration officials making a "determination" about the remaining undocumented people once the border is "secure."
“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 2 million, it could be even 3 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.”
He also recommitted to building a wall between the US and Mexico, but conceded parts of the wall may instead consist of fencing.
“For certain areas I would [use fencing], but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate,” he said. “I’m very good at this, it’s called construction.”
Since the election Tuesday, the Mexican government has reiterated that they will not pay for the wall.
“We are in the business of eliminating barriers,” Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu told CBS News. “That’s why we would not consider paying for any wall that puts barriers between our integration and competitiveness."
Once Trump's initial immigration policies are in place, the president-elect said officials would "make a determination" about the remaining undocumented immigrants.
“After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, 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.”
Two days after the election, former House Speaker and Trump supporter Newt Gingrich expressed doubts that Mexico would pay for a hypothetical US–Mexico border wall, but called the structure a "great campaign device."
Gingrich added that he thought the new president would spend a lot of time "controlling the border," and that he could reduce the flow of refugees into the country "by 99 percent in one day by just being practical."
Cora Lewis is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Lewis reports on labor.
Contact Cora Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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