Trump to crack down on 3 million illegals
NEW YORK—President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday vowed to move aggressively on his agenda in cracking down on an estimated 3 million illegal immigrants even as he also sought to reassure worried Americans that they have nothing to fear from his presidency.
Setting aside the strident tone of his campaign, the 70-year-old billionaire real estate mogul 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 on Friday and aired in full on 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,” he said 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.”
Millions were expected to tune in to Trump’s interview for clues on how the billionaire will govern, and how far he intends to convert his slogans into policy.
On immigration, Trump reaffirmed his signature campaign pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico, although he conceded parts of it may be just a fence.
And he said as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records would be deported or incarcerated.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers,” Trump said.
“We have 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,” he added.
Trump, however, left the door open 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, Trump 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 healthcare reform and a bill to cut taxes and simplify the tax code.
Even so, his tough-talking plan to rein in illegal immigration showed signs of cracking, with the president-elect seemingly backing off his vow to build a solid wall along the southern US border and Speaker Ryan rejecting any “deportation force” targeting people in the country illegally.
In the interview with CBS, Trump said he would accept a fence in some places along the US southern border where he had promised to build a wall.
During his campaign, he insisted he would deport 11 million people living in the country illegally—with exceptions.
Earlier on Sunday, Ryan told CNN’s “State of the Union” that “we (Republican lawmakers) are not planning on erecting a deportation force.”
“I think we should put people’s minds at ease” on mass deportation, he said, because the top priority is really border security. —REPORTS FROM AFP AND AP
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