Trump Issues Orders To Start Building US-Mexico Wall, Intensifies Illegal Immgrants Campaign
Jan 26, 2017 08:37 AM EST
U.S. President, Donald Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday, approving immigration-related efforts to build a wall on the Mexican border and to go after "sanctuary cities" that shelter illegal migrants in the country. Trump's latest executive orders are the most detailed among the 12 presidential edicts he has issued within the first six days of his presidency.
Trump, who believes illegal immigration is a present threat to the country, signed the orders at the Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Washington during a ceremony. He later assembled rank-and-file law enforcement officers declaring, "A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, America gets back control of its borders."
Trump told in an interview with ABC News that construction of the wall will begin months from now, and that it would roughly cost $8 billion, though independent estimates show it could be three times higher. The U.S. government will soon discuss with Mexican government over Trump's demand to pay for the structure - a demand that the government has constantly rejected.
Although the order does not specify how the wall will be paid for, Trump has requested for a clear account on all foreign aid given to Mexico, with the implicit threat to withhold that funding from whatever transaction U.S. makes from Mexico.
Trump's Wednesday moves seem to be a foretaste of the many executive actions to dismiss Obama's former immigration policies, with more orders expected to refine the status of refugees and of people who immigrated to the U.S. as children.
Under the polished immigration plan, the State Department is required to stop issuing visas for citizens from "recalcitrant countries" that won't take back criminal aliens, deported from the United States. If cities and counties won't turn over undocumented immigrants held in their jails, Trump will withhold funding - though a provision of the order would allow the attorney general to make exceptions.
While President Barack Obama prioritized the deportation of immigrants convicted of serious crimes, Trump has expanded the definition of criminal to include immigrants suspected but not charged in a crime. This includes those who have "abused" any kind of benefit programs, and those, who in the judgment of an immigration officer "pose a risk to public safety."
However, Trump's plans have received domestic and international opposition. "We will see the Trump administration in court," said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.