In a series of executive orders announced on Wednesday, President Trump took the initial steps to significantly revise U.S. immigration policy from that of the Obama Administration. The executive orders call for a number of changes to various immigration programs, including DHS’s immigration enforcement priorities, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, visa issuances from specific countries, and the much-talked-about border wall.
Some of the announced changes include the following:
- A revised list of immigration enforcement priorities that includes, among other categories, individuals charged with “any criminal offense,” even where the individual has not yet been convicted.
- An increase in the number of immigrant detention centers and federal border patrol agents.
- A dramatic decrease in the number of refugees admitted annually under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program from 110,000 to 50,000.
- A 120-day freeze on all refugee admissions, followed by a resumption of admissions only from countries determined to have sufficient safeguards to “ensure the security and welfare of the United States.”
- A 30-day freeze on admissions of immigrants or nonimmigrants from countries designated as “areas of particular concern,” namely Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, followed by a potential indefinite suspension of admissions from these countries.
- Construction of a contiguous, physical wall along the US/Mexico.
Although some of these proposed actions – such as the border wall, detention centers and increased number of border agents – will require Congress to allocate funding before they can be implemented, many of the actions will likely go into effect immediately.