Themorningbellbd.com desk, November 14: 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 far-right 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.
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.”