Trump says he will deport or jail up to three million immigrants

President-elect indicates illegal immigrants, including many Irish, will be rounded up

US president-elect Donald Trump says he will deport or imprison up to three million undocumented immigrants when he takes office next year.

Mr Trump said the authorities would round up undocumented immigrants with criminal records – a group he estimated at between two and three million people – but would later “make a determination” on those, including thousands of Irish, who were undocumented but had an otherwise clean record.

“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records – gang members, drug dealers . . . we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” he said in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes yesterday.

Only then, with the border secured and “everything normalised”, would he decide on a plan to deal with the “terrific people” who were in the US illegally but who had clean criminal histories.


In his campaign for the Republican nomination, Mr Trump pledged to deport all undocumented immigrants and said he would create a deportation force. In a separate interview yesterday, House speaker Paul Ryan distanced himself from that rhetoric.

“We are not planning on erecting a deportation force,” he said. “Donald Trump’s not planning on that.”

Figures from the department of homeland security and the Migration Policy Institute suggest there are 1.9 million "removable criminal aliens" in the US, a group that includes any non-citizens – legal residents and undocumented immigrants – with a criminal conviction. Of that number, about 820,000 are undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, the Washington Post reported.

In President Barack Obama’s first term, his administration deported a record 1.9 million people.


Asked if some stretches of his border wall with Mexico would consist of fencing, as suggested by congressional Republicans, Mr Trump said: "For certain areas I would consider it], but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I'm very good at this. It's called construction."

Mr Trump's comments came as demonstrators took to the streets for a fifth day in protest against the incoming president. Crowds marched through New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and other cities, decrying Mr Trump's anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric as well as the allegations that the property magnate sexually abused women.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump last night chose Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, the favourite of the party's establishment, to serve as White House chief of staff.

Steve Bannon, Mr Trump's campaign chief, was named as his chief strategist.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is the Editor of The Irish Times