WASHINGTON (AP/KXAN) — President Donald Trump signed two executive orders in keeping with campaign promises to boost border security and crack down on immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. The president signed the two orders Wednesday during a ceremony at the Department of Homeland Security after honoring the department’s newly confirmed secretary, retired Gen. John Kelly.
The executive orders jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall, which Trump says will begin immediately, and strip funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which don’t arrest or detain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Mexico has repeatedly said they will not pay for any border wall.
“Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders and gets back its borders,” said Trump during a news conference at the Department of Homeland Security. “I just signed two executive orders that will save thousands of lives, millions of jobs and millions, millions of dollars.”
In claiming authority to build a wall, Trump may rely 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.
- READ: Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements; Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
Trump says his orders will also end the policy of catch-and-release at the border. Currently, some immigrants crossing the border illegally are given notices to report back to immigration officials at a later date.
Other items in the order:
- Requires other countries to take back their criminals
- Cracks down on sanctuary cities
- Empowers ICE officers to target and remove those who pose a threat to public safety
- Calls for the hiring of another 5,000 Border Patrol agents
- Calls for the hiring of an additional 10,000 ICE officers
- Creates an Office of Homeland Security dedicated to supporting the victims of illegal immigrant crime
Wednesday’s actions did not include anything about halting entry to the U.S. from Muslims, which Trump mentioned during his campaign.
Reactions to Trump’s Executive Orders
Congressman Roger Williams, R-Austin, said he’s proud that Trump is taking the steps to “provide for the safety and security of our nation during his first full week in office.”
“Building a wall along the US-Mexico border and increasing border patrol forces in a time when we are experiencing an all-time low in undocumented immigration is not only wasteful but an unwise stress on our relationship with international allies,” said Battleground Texas political director Oscar Silva.
Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox immediately tweeted that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for the wall.