Jan 25, 2017
President Trump signed executive actions Wednesday ordering the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and targeting sanctuary cities, following through on campaign promises that energized his base – and outraged his critics – during the 2016 campaign.
The orders cover a range of immigration enforcement measures. The marquee item is a directive to pursue a southern border wall.
“A nation without borders is not a nation,” Trump declared after signing the measures, while speaking to employees at the Department of Homeland Security. “Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.”
The first order calls for the “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border,” and directs the DHS secretary to take “all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct” the wall using authority under existing law.
While it’s not yet clear exactly how the project might be funded or how much it would cost, Trump reiterated his vow that Mexico “absolutely” will pay for the project eventually, something the Mexican government has denied.
“Ultimately it will come out of what’s happening with Mexico,” Trump told ABC News in a separate interview, adding construction could begin in a matter of months.
Mexico’s contribution aside, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said existing Homeland Security funding could be used for now to get started, and congressional appropriations eventually would be needed. The order itself calls for the preparation of congressional budget requests.
The same executive order also calls for hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and ending “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants, among other provisions.
Another order is aimed at helping federal immigration agents. It calls for hiring 10,000 additional officers; restoring the so-called Secure Communities program and other local partnerships; prioritizing the deportation of illegal immigrant criminals; directing the State Department to use leverage to ensure illegal immigrants are taken back by their country of origin – and moving to strip federal grant money to sanctuary states and cities that “harbor” illegal immigrants.
The latter move is sure to trigger a backlash from the hundreds of jurisdictions that have such policies in place. But critics have blasted those policies in the wake of violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants who were effectively protected from deportation by local jurisdictions.
The immigration measures fall in the middle of a very busy first week for President Trump. He started with a measure withdrawing the U.S. from a controversial trade pact and others aimed at reviving massive pipeline projects that were stalled under the Obama administration.
From here, Trump is expected to address U.S. refugee and other visa policies.
A government source said these measures are likely to include the temporary suspension of visas from problem countries like Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Libya — and could seek a reduction in the number of refugees admitted to the U.S.
The measures also could address the implementation of what Trump on the campaign trail called “extreme vetting” for certain visa applicants.
Trump campaigned on pledges to tighten U.S. immigration policies, including strengthening border security and stemming the flow of refugees. His call for a border wall was among his most popular proposals with supporters, who often broke out in chants of “build that wall” during rallies.
To build the wall, the president is relying in part on a 2006 law that authorized several hundred miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile frontier. That bill led to the construction of about 700 miles of various kinds of fencing designed to block both vehicles and pedestrians.
The Secure Fence Act was signed by then-President George W. Bush, and the majority of that fencing in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California was built before he left office. The last remnants were completed after President Obama took office in 2009.
The Trump administration also must adhere to a decades-old border treaty with Mexico that limits where and how structures can be buil. The 1970 treaty requires that structures cannot disrupt the flow of the rivers, which define the U.S.-Mexico border along Texas and 24 miles in Arizona, according to The International Boundary and Water Commission, a joint U.S.-Mexican agency that administers the treaty.
Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
President Donald Trump vowed to start his “big beautiful” wall on the Southern border of the United States immediately during an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir.
When asked for the construction date, Trump said that he would begin the project “as soon as we can physically do it” and confirmed that planning would start “immediately.” He predicted, however, that the actual construction process might take a few months to begin.
The president will travel this afternoon to the Department of Homeland Security to sign several executive orders that deal with border security.
Trump confirmed that ultimately Mexico would pay for the wall, but that the government would get the project started.
He also dismissed Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for insisting that his country would not pay for the wall.
“I think he has to say that,” Trump replied, vowing that future negotiations with Mexico would ensure payment from the country.
But he suggested that the wall would be good for Mexico too.
“What I am doing will be good for the United States; it’s also going to be good for Mexico,” Trump said. “We want to have a very stable, solid Mexico.”
The full interview airs tonight on ABC News at 10:00 p.m. EST.
As President Donald J. Trump prepares to kick off his new border security plan, various news outlets have begun to criticize the effort by focusing on the border wall. However, members from the union representing the men and women from the U.S. Border Patrol stated that the proposal comes from listening to agents instead of politicians.
Various outlets have continued to question the notion of building a border wall and have focused on the perceived challenges of such an enterprise. Other outlets have criticized the effectiveness of the measure claiming that it does not address the current immigration crisis. The various news organizations have failed to mention the complete control that Mexican drug cartels have over human smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and other illicit activities along both sides of the border.
The executive orders that President Trump will be signing provides border security agents with the tools that they have been denied for too long, said Hector Garza, a U.S. Border Patrol agent and the President for the Local 2455 of the National Border Patrol Council. As part of the union’s leadership, Garza is able to speak about issues affecting the men and women that he represents.
Despite the many misconceptions by pundits and individuals who have not been to the border, a wall with the addition of new manpower, surveillance technology and other equipment will be an effective tool in slowing down illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Garza said.
“We know we won’t have a wall along the 2,000 miles of border,” he said. “What we will have is a wall where it is needed. That barrier with proper manpower, resources, technology and other tools will be effective. But most important, for the first time we have a president that wants to secure the border.”
Through the NBPC, agents have been able to relay vital information to Trump and his staff about the realities of the border and what is needed in each particular sector.
“During the previous administration, we had a president that failed to acknowledge the problems on the border. Now, we have a president that not only acknowledges the problems, but is willing to give us the tools needed to address them.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.
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