Trump softens promise of border wall, says parts could be fence
President-elect Donald Trump backed away from his promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, saying some areas could instead be "fencing," and added he would move to deport up to 3 million immigrants in the country illegally who have criminal records, Reuters reported.
Trump, who made his pledge to force Mexico to pay for a border wall a centerpiece of his White House campaign, said "for certain areas" he would accept fencing instead of a brick-and-mortar wall, according to excerpts released on Sunday of his interview with the CBS program "60 Minutes."
"But certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I'm very good at this, it's called construction, there could be some fencing," the New York real estate developer said.
Trump, who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's election and replaces Democratic President Barack Obama on Jan. 20, also said once he takes office he would remove immigrants in the country illegally with criminal records.
"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. But we're getting them out of our country," he told "60 Minutes."
During the campaign, Trump said he would deport the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, most of whom are Hispanic. In calling for the construction of a border wall, Trump said Mexico was sending criminals and rapists into the United States.
Trump and his senior advisers have signaled they could be flexible on some of his campaign promises once he takes office.