Trump Signs Executive Orders To Construct Border Wall And Increase Deportations

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Donald Trump fulfilled several campaign promises Wednesday by signing executive orders authorizing the construction of a border wall on America’s southern border and several initiatives to increase deportations.

“A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the U.S. gets back control of its borders,” Trump said in a Wednesday speech at the Department of Homeland Security announcing the signing of the executive orders. The president said that the orders will benefit both the U.S. and Mexico, as Trump believes the wall will reduce the surge of migrants into Mexico seeking to get to the U.S.

One of the orders, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, uses the power vested in the president under existing laws to immediately take steps to “plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border.” The executive order calls for a projection of long-term funding requirements for the wall and authorizes the Office of Personal Management to take appropriate steps to hire personnel to implement the wall’s construction.

The order also calls for the construction of additional immigration detention facilities, the hiring of 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and empowers state and local law enforcement officials to have immigration enforcement authority in their jurisdiction. President Trump also directs the attorney general to give priority to prosecutions of crimes, such as drug smuggling, which originate from the southern border.

President Trump has said that Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for the construction of the wall and has not detailed how this would occur. The order he signed, however, directs the head of each executive department and federal agency to identity all the sources or direct and indirect foreign aid to Mexico in the past five years.

The other order signed by President Trump, Enhancing Public Safety In The Interior Of The United States, focuses on interior immigration enforcement. It calls for the hiring of 10,000 additional ICE officers and an agency to analyze the effects of illegal alien crime and give support to the victims of such crimes.

It also states that sanctuary jurisdictions, which refuse to work with federal immigration officials, will not be eligible to receive federal grants, except law enforcement grants deemed necessary by the attorney general and secretary of Homeland Security. The order terminates the Priority Enforcement Program started under President Barack Obama, which was heavily criticized for hampering cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE.

The secretary of state is authorized under the order to use diplomatic means to make sure nations don’t refuse to accept deported individuals.