Yesterday President Trump signed two executive orders that are intended to follow through on his campaign promises to build a wall along the Mexican border and deport millions of so called “illegal immigrants.” These orders address a wide range of border and interior enforcement activities, including protecting the southern US border, increasing detention space, expanding enforcement priorities and expedited removal, engaging state and local law enforcement officers in immigration enforcement (and punishing localities that refuse to engage), and increasing the number of Border Patrol and ICE officers. Over the next few weeks and months, we expect the President’s cabinet and agency staff to begin implementing the directives in the orders as well as issuing additional orders.
Here are some of the main goals of these orders:
- Building a large physical barrier on southern border
- Providing DHS with the tools and resources needed to stop “illegal immigration”
- Creating more detention centers along southern border, and making it “easier and cheaper” to detain and return individuals
- Ending of “Catch and Release” (Catch-and-release is applied to illegal immigrants who fear persecution from the country they left. In these cases, the immigrants are allowed to apply for a work permit.)
- Prioritizing prosecution and deportation of “illegal immigrants” who have violated U.S. laws. This is supposedly number one priority – to remove people from the U.S. who were determined to intend to do harm or who have committed crimes.
- ICE will “unapologetically” enforce the law
- Withholding visas from certain countries and using other means to make sure home countries accept their people back
- Suspending the refugee admissions for 120 days
- Syrian refugee processing is suspended indefinitely
- Visa interview waiver program is also suspended indefinitely, all visa applicants must attend an interview unless not required by statute
- Federal grants to be stripped from sanctuary cities that harbor “illegal immigrants”
These two orders do not address DACA – but additional executive orders addressing immigration are expected soon. Allegedly some documents have leaked from the White House showing that Presidential advisers urge President Trump to rescind the DAPA program entirely (DAPA is currently subject to a federal court injunction), and to ceased the processing of new DACA applications, and allowing current recipients to retain their work permits until they expire.