Donald Trump wants three million illegal migrants either deported or jailed - but already appears to be watering down his promise of a ‘wall’ on the US-Mexico border.
The President-elect, in his first major post-election interview with US broadcaster CBS, said parts of the flagship promise to fortify the border could be a fence - a notion he mocked when Republican rival Jeb Bush called him out.
Speaking to Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, he said “a wall is more appropriate” in some parts but “there could be some fencing”.
Stahl: Are you really going to build a wall?
Stahl: They’re talking about a fence in the Republican Congress. Would you accept a fence?
Trump: For certain areas I would. For certain areas a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction.”
Stahl: So part wall, part fencing?
Trump: There could be some fencing.
Extracts from the interview briefed on Friday suggested Trump was also planning to U-turn on his pledge to scrap the ‘Obamacare’ health insurance initiative, saying he would be willing to keep parts of it.
But he appears to remain committed to his crackdown on “criminal” illegal migrants - and said there could be as many as three million in his sights. He said:
“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.”
To put the figure in context, the US is thought to have around 11 million undocumented immigrants - many of them from Mexico. His goal would suggest even those guilty of minor offences could be targetted.