Trump election: Up to three million migrants 'to be targeted'
- 14 November 2016
- From the section US Election 2016
US President-elect Donald Trump has said he will deport or jail up to three million illegal migrants initially.
Those targeted would be migrants with criminal records, such as gang members and drug dealers, he told US broadcaster CBS in an interview.
There were an estimated 178,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records in the US in 2010, according to a congressional report.
Mr Trump also said his planned wall with Mexico could include fencing.
Meanwhile, the president-elect has chosen Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), as his future chief of staff, and Stephen Bannon, the head of his campaign and of the right-wing website Breitbart, as chief strategist.
In his first wide-ranging interview as president-elect, Mr Trump also said:
- Future Supreme Court nominees would be "pro-life" and defend the constitutional right to bear arms
- He will not seek to overturn the legalisation of same-sex marriage
- He will forgo the president's $400,000 salary, taking $1 a year instead
- He was "saddened" by reports of harassment of minorities and called for it to "stop"
- He was "very proud" of his campaign but wished it had been "softer, nicer"
- He will "think about" asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's email use
The Republican defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's presidential vote in a shock victory after opinion polls favoured Mrs Clinton.
He is due to take over at the White House on 20 January, when Barack Obama steps down after two terms in office.
An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the US, many of them from Mexico, and Mr Trump made immigration and border control a key part of his campaign.
Reality check: Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington
For the first time since winning the presidency, Donald Trump has put a number on how many people he plans to deport from US soil and it's a big one - two to three million.
Although he says this group comprises violent criminals, drug-dealers and gang members, to hit such a high mark would involve either casting a very wide net that covers even the smallest infractions or also deporting legal alien residents of the US with criminal convictions.
To pull this off, an expanded "deportation force" would almost certainly be necessary, but Mr Trump's advisers have spent the past few days downplaying the prospect of such an organisation.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump also has curtailed the scope of his "big, beautiful" border wall, acknowledging that it could be a fence in some areas. All of this is evidence that Mr Trump is grappling with exactly how to make his controversial immigration promises a reality.
Proposing a multi-billion-dollar wall and mass deportations is easy. Delivering, in the face of fiscal realities and opposition within one's own party, is a different matter entirely.
'The people that are criminal'
During his campaign, Mr Trump pledged to overturn amnesties introduced by President Obama, and strictly enforce immigration laws, deporting those without correct documents.
Mr Trump told CBS: "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."
According to The Washington Post Fact Checker, Mr Trump is likely to have got these estimates from a Department of Homeland 2013 report saying there were 1.9 million "removable criminal aliens." But that figure includes lawful residents, or those who have temporary visas, it points out.
The Migration Policy Institute, a US-based think tank, puts the number at 820,000 - but says that includes many people who have only been convicted of crossing the border illegally.
Asked about his plans for the Mexican border, Mr Trump said "a wall is more appropriate" in some parts but "there could be some fencing".
Other undocumented migrants would be assessed once the border was secured, Mr Trump added.
However, another top Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said on Sunday that border security was a greater priority than mass deportation.
"We are not planning on erecting a deportation force,'' he told CNN's State of the Union programme. "I think we should put people's minds at ease."
Walling off Mexico
- The US-Mexico border is about 1,900 miles (3,100 km) long and traverses all sorts of terrain from empty, dusty desert to the lush and rugged surroundings of the Rio Grande.
- It is one of the busiest borders in the world, with at least one million people using it each day, as well as 400,000 cars and 15,000 lorries, according to Mexico's El Universal newspaper.
- Some 650 miles are covered already by a non-continuous series of fences, concrete slabs and other structures.
- Mr Trump has previously said his wall would cover 1,000 miles and natural obstacles would take care of the rest.
Forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall became a rallying cry among Trump supporters during the campaign.
Their candidate caused outrage by suggesting Mexicans were exporting "their rapists" to the US, along with drugs and other crime.
Elsewhere in the CBS interview, Mr Trump promised to be "very restrained" in his use of the Twitter social media platform in future.
Crediting his provocative use of Twitter for his success in the campaign, he said: "I find it tremendous. It's a modern form of communication. There should be nothing we should be ashamed of."
Talking about the demonstrations taking place in parts of the US, he said he believed some "professional protesters" were involved.
He also said he'd prefer a simple vote system to the electoral college - even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.