One week into his presidency, Donald Trump signed a number of executive orders targeting immigration from Mexico and the Middle East.
On January 27, Trump used his executive power to sign new orders that increase the country’s policies regarding refugees and visas, CNBC reported.
The orders were intended “to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United Sates of America,” Trump said at The Pentagon following the orders. The executive order halts visa entry into the country from countries that are predominately Muslim.
Two days earlier on January 25, Trump focused on fighting illegal immigration from Mexico. He signed two executive orders that call for the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and increase border control forces by 5,000. They also boosted the amount of immigration officials who specialize in deportations by 10,000. Both of those were noted in the orders as being “subject to Congress’s appropriation of sufficient funds.”
CNN reported January 26 that Trump “floated the idea” of a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall.
Trump told ABC News that the construction of a border wall “would begin in months” in an interview. He told ABC that the wall would require taxpayer funds, but vowed that Mexico would reimburse them “100 percent.”
All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico. I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. What I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico. We want to have a very stable, very solid Mexico.
Here’s what you need to know about Trump’s immigration executive orders:
1. The Orders Restrict Immigration From Several Middle Eastern & African Countries
The countries that will have immigration to the U.S. restricted due to the orders signed January 27 are Syria, Iraq, Iran Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somali, Fox News reported.
Those orders call for an “extreme vetting” process for all immigrants and visitors to the country.
Trump explained the need for the orders with “tens of thousands” of refugees already taken in by the U.S. He said during a speech, “We know nothing about them. They can say they vetted them. They didn’t vet them, they have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and they have no papers?”
Under his executive power, Trump can set the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. Most recently, former President Barack Obama accepted 84,995 refugees in 2016, 12,587 of whom were from Syria. During this year, Obama had set the mark at 110,000, Time reported.
Fox News heard from sources close to Trump that the president has “plans to cut that (110,000 refugee number) by more than half to 50,000.
2. Trump Has Signed Multiple Executive Orders Already
Trump has been taken much executive access during his first week of presidency.
On January 25, Trump focused on fighting illegal immigration from Mexico. He signed two executive orders that order the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and increase Border Patrol forces.
One day earlier on January 24, Trump signed executive orders that “make it easier for TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final uncompleted portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” NBC News reported.
Reuters reported that the orders would expedite the two pipeline projects.
Previously, Trump signed an order that eases the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. The order tells agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” from the Affordable Care Act.
Trump also signed an order which put a hiring freeze on some federal workers and signed a notice withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. In addition, Trump reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” which put a ban on federal money to international groups that perform abortions.
3. Trump Campaigned on a Temporary Ban of Muslims
Throughout his campaign for president, Trump said he would put a ban on Muslims entering the United States. In a December 7, 2016 statement, Trump said he was “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
The statement cited Pew Research stats which stated there is “great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.”
Previously, Trump had said he would “ban all Muslim travel to the United States,” CNN reported.
4. The Immigration Executive Orders Are Facing Legal Hurdles
If it’s determined that the executive orders discriminate against a religion, they could be considered unconstitutional, as the First Amendment of the Constitution forbids religious discrimination.
On the same day the orders were signed, The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced it would file a lawsuit on Trump’s ban on the Muslim refugees. CAIR’s national litigation director Lena Masri told The Independent it will file suit to “challenge the constitutionality of the order which very clearly is designed to target Muslims.
From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights. But from a policy standpoint it would be terrible idea because there is such an urgent humanitarian need right now for refugees.
However, as Reuters reported if all of the countries facing a ban from the U.S. are countries where the population is a majority Muslim, additional legal opponents may claim that the law is discriminating against the religion.
5. Sean Spicer Said Agencies Will Work on a Vetting Process
Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, told the media January 23 that “the State and Homeland Security departments would work on the vetting process” for immigrants once Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for the State Department, is confirmed.
In August 2016, Trump had called for “extreme vetting” of would-be immigrants.
In a speech in Ohio last year on a campaign stop, Trump called for a screening test that’s designed specifically to keep out anyone who doesn’t share what he described as “American values.” He added that the test includes those that aren’t ready to “embrace a tolerant American society.”