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.”
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.