After it appeared he would waffle on many of his primary policy positions, the President-elect still intends to launch widespread deportations once he takes office
Donald Trump has said he will deport two to three million undocumented immigrants “immediately” upon taking office.
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.
“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.
When asked if he actually intends to build the wall along the southern border, Mr Trump simply replied, “Yes.”
However, Mr Trump explained that the wall along the 1,900 mile border would probably not be as grandiose as he promised – describing an iteration of the boundary between the two countries that essentially already exists.
“There could be some fencing,” he said. “For certain areas I would [accept a fence], but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction.”
The President-elect’s comments about mass deportations stand at odds with a statement made by Paul Ryan, the highest ranking Republican, on Sunday morning.
“We are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump’s not planning on that,” Mr Ryan told CNN.
“I think we should put people’s minds at ease: That is not what our focus is. That is not what we’re focused on. We’re focused on securing the border,” he added. “We think that’s first and foremost, before we get into any other immigration issue, we’ve got to know who’s coming and going into the country – we’ve got to secure the border.”
Mr Ryan’s remarks seemed to indicate yet another U-turn in policy proposals for the President-elect. On Friday, he told the Wall Street Journal that he would more than likely keep some parts of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare”, rather than completely repealing it.
“Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” Mr Trump told the newspaper following his 90-minute meeting with President Barack Obama. “I told him I will look at his suggestions and, out of respect, I will do that.”
While Mr Obama said he felt “encouraged” by the Thursday meeting, a signifcant number of Americans believe Mr Trump’s election will mark a dark, new phase for the United States, as he intends to dismantle much of the sitting President’s legacy.
Millions of protesters took to the streets after election night to protest over Mr Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton. While the New York businessman did win enough electoral votes to make it to the White House, Ms Clinton took the popular vote – more than any US president in history, with the exception of Mr Obama.
Protests filled roads in major cities, like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, and echoed with chants of “not my president” and “dump Trump”. Dissenters are using the protests to rebuke the racism and bigotry promoted by the Trump campaign, as manifested through policy proposals like building a wall along the border, mass deportations, and the blockade of Muslim immigrants.
Mr Trump’s victory has galvanised white supremacists across the country, as a wave of reported hate crimes reaches new highs.
Neo-Nazi and Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin exalted Mr Trump as a “God Emperor” following Tuesday night’s election results.
“Our Glorious Leader has ascended to God Emperor. Make no mistake about it: we did this. If it were not for us, it wouldn’t have been possible,” he wrote. “[T]he White race is back in the game. And if we’re playing, no one can beat us. The winning is not going to stop.”
The Ku Klux Klan also announced a victory parade for the beginning of December in North Carolina.
Civil rights organisations are preparing themselves for the incoming Trump administration. The American Civil Liberties Union published a full-page ad in the New York Times with an open letter threatening to sue Mr Trump.
“if you do not reverse course and endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality,” the ACLU wrote, “you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at your every step.”