It didn’t take long for Trump to act on his election promises. He unveiled a powerful executive action that dictates some major changes in immigration. While promoting it to the Department of Homeland Security, Trump said, “I’m asking all of you to enforce the laws of the United States. They will be enforced and enforced strongly.” He added, “We’re going to restore the rule of law in the United States…A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders. You guys are about to be very, very busy doing your job [as] you want to.”
This is some pretty amazing stuff. Not only was one of the provisions the wall, there was so, so much more. Here are a few of them.
1. Broaden Enforcement Priorities. According to Section 5(c), the Secretary of Homeland Security has now been granted the power to prioritize for removal those who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” This means anyone who has crossed the border illegally. Whereas under President Obama, other crimes were prioritized, now illegal presence in the country has become a priority for law enforcement. The executive action also extends prioritization to false use of a Social Security number, for example (Section 5(d)), or taking public benefits illegally (Section 5(e)).
2. Add Agents. The order grants the Secretary the ability to hire 10,000 additional law enforcement officers with money to be found under current allocations.
3. Allow States To Help Police Immigration. Whereas the Obama administration sued the Arizona state government for aiding in enforcement of federal immigration law, Section 8(b) of the order allows States and local law enforcement officials to “perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to investigation, apprehension, or detention of alients in the United States.”
4. Kills Funding To Sanctuary Cities. The jurisprudence on federal grants to states and cities is rather complex, but this executive action seeks to remove eligibility to receive federal grants if those jurisdictions refuse to comply with federal immigration law. The executive order also creates a public shaming capacity for the feds: they are to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”
5. Restoring The Secure Communities Program. The Obama administration originally had a program that allowed the feds to check immigration databases to see local offenders who were here illegally; Obama then killed this in favor of the Priority Enforcement Program, which put limitations on such communication. Trump is returning to the original system.