President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to deport about two to three million undocumented immigrants, speaking in a pre-taped interview that will air Sunday night.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have 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,” Trump said in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes. “But we’re getting them out of our country. They’re here illegally.”
Trump campaigned on a promise to crack down on illegal immigration, vowing to build a wall along the Mexican border. Asked in the 60 Minutes interview if he plans to actually build the wall, he said yes, adding that parts of the border might include fencing. “But for certain areas, a wall is appropriate. I’m very good at this. It’s called construction,” he said.
Trump has used the “two million” figure previously, but experts have poked holes in its accuracy. Citing data from the Department of Homeland Security and the Migration Policy Institute, the Washington Post reported that there are 1.9 million “removable criminal aliens” in the U.S., a category that includes any non-citizens with a criminal conviction—both legal residents and undocumented immigrants. Of that number, about 820,000 are undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, the Post reported.
“After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about who are terrific people, they’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that,” Trump said on 60 Minutes.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan on Sunday appeared to contradict Trump’s deportation plans, while advocating for strong border security.
“We are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump’s not planning on that,” Ryan said in an interview with 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 said. “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.”