WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday will order the construction
of a Mexican border wall — the first in a series of actions this
week to crack down on immigrants and bolster national security, including
slashing the number of refugees who can resettle in the United States
and blocking Syrians and others from “terror prone” nations
from entering, at least temporarily.
The orders are among an array of national security directives Mr. Trump
is considering issuing in the coming days, according to people who have
seen the orders. They include reviewing whether to resume the once-secret
“black site” detention program; keep open the prison at Guantánamo
Bay; and designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
According to a draft, the order on detention policies would start a review
of “whether to reinstate the program of interrogation of high-value
alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States, and whether
such a program should include the use of detention facilities operated
by the C.I.A.” But one section of the draft would require that “no
person in the custody of the United States shall at any time be subjected
to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as
describe by U.S. or international law.”
The proposed orders could lead to sweeping and controversial changes in
the way the United States conducts itself at home and around the globe
in the name of security, potentially leading to the reinstatement of policies
that have been repudiated by much of the world.
“Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow,” Mr. Trump
wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night. “Among many other things, we
will build the wall!”
Mr. Trump will sign the executive order for the wall during an appearance
at the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, as Mexico’s
foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, arrives in Washington to prepare for
the visit of President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. Mr. Peña
Nieto will be among the first foreign leaders to meet the new president
at the end of the month.
The border wall was a signature promise of Mr. Trump’s campaign,
during which he argued it is vital to gaining control over the illegal
flow of immigrants into the United States.
Mr. Trump is also expected to target legal immigrants as early as this
week, White House officials said, by halting a decades-old program that
grants refuge to the world’s most vulnerable people as he begins
the process of drastically curtailing it and enhancing screening procedures.
In the draft of a separate executive order now being circulated inside
the administration, Mr. Trump would examine the question of whether the
Central Intelligence Agency should reopen its so-called black sites, secret
interrogation and detention centers that it operated overseas. Former
President Barack Obama ordered the closings of all in the first week of
his presidency in 2009.
The black sites were a highly classified program, so their mention in an
executive order would be highly unusual.
The draft of a second executive order would also order a review of the
Army Field Manual to determine whether to use certain enhanced interrogation
Another executive order under consideration would direct the secretary
of state to determine whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign
terrorist organization. That designation has been sought by Egypt and
the United Arab Emirates.
The refugee policy under consideration would halt admissions from Syria
and suspend it from other majority-Muslim nations until the administration
can study how to properly vet them. This would pave the way for the administration
to slash the number of displaced people who can be resettled on American
soil, and would effectively bar the entry of people from Muslim countries
— including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria — at least
for some time.
The plan is in line with a ban on Muslim immigrants that Mr. Trump proposed
during his campaign, arguing that such a step was warranted given concerns
about terrorism. He later said he wanted to impose “extreme vetting”
of refugees from Syria and other countries where terrorism was rampant,
although the Obama administration had already instituted strict screening
procedures for Syrian refugees that were designed to weed out anyone who
posed a danger.
The expected actions drew strong criticism from immigrant advocates and
human rights groups, which called them discriminatory moves that rejected
the American tradition of welcoming immigrants of all backgrounds.
“To think that Trump’s first 100 days are going to be marked
by this very shameful shutting of our doors to everybody who is seeking
refuge in this country is very concerning,” said Marielena Hincapié,
the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Everything
points to this being simply a backdoor Muslim ban.”
For Mr. Trump, whose raucous campaign rallies frequently featured chants
of “build the wall,” the directive to fortify the border was
not unexpected, although it may not be enough by itself to accomplish
the task. Congress would need to approve any new funding necessary to
build the wall, which Mr. Trump has insisted Mexico will finance, despite
its leaders’ protestations to the contrary. The order would shift
already appropriated federal funds to the wall’s construction, but
it was unclear where the money would come from.
The Government Accountability Office has estimated that it could cost $6.5
million per mile to build a single-layer fence, and an additional $4.2
million per mile for roads and more fencing, according to congressional
officials. Those estimates do not include maintenance of the fence along
the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico. Representative Nancy Pelosi
of California, the Democratic leader, said she thought even Republicans
might balk at spending what she said could be $14 billion on a wall.
Mr. Trump has said immigration will be on the agenda when he meets with
Mr. Peña Nieto.
The order to build the wall is likely to complicate the visit of Mr. Videgaray,
who has a history with Mr. Trump. It was Mr. Videgaray, then Mexico’s
finance minister, who orchestrated Mr. Trump’s visit to Mexico before
the election, a move seen by many Mexicans as tantamount to treason. He
was forced to resign because of the fallout, but his reputation was restored
after Mr. Trump’s victory, and he was given the job of foreign minister,
in part to capitalize on his relationship with the new American leader.
It is unclear whether Mexican officials were informed of Mr. Trump’s
decision to sign the executive order during Mr. Videgaray’s visit.
Mr. Trump’s refugee directive is expected to target a program the
Obama administration expanded last year in response to a global refugee
crisis, fueled in large part by a large flow of Syrians fleeing their
country’s civil war. Mr. Obama increased the overall number of refugees
to be resettled in the United States to 85,000 and ordered that 10,000
of the slots be reserved for Syrians. He set the number of refugees to
be resettled this year at 110,000, more than double the 50,000 Mr. Trump
is now considering.
By the end of last month, more than 25,000 refugees had been resettled,
according to State Department figures, meaning the plan Mr. Trump is considering
would admit only 25,000 more by the end of September.
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration law firm and deportation defense attorneys
The Miami immigration attorneys at Revilla Law Firm, P.A., are closely
following the latest immigration developments and executive orders being
signed by President Donald Trump. We understand that President Trump will
be focusing on national security this week and this could impact certain
immigration policies. We will continue to monitor any immigration news
as it becomes available.
In the meantime, should you wish to contact our office to discuss your
immigration case, please contact us at
(305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323.
Our immigration lawyers offer a free in-office consultation in our Miami office.
Antonio G. Revilla III is a Former U.S. Immigration Prosecutor and a Miami
immigration lawyer with over 25 years of legal experience. Mr. Revilla
has successfully represented thousands of immigration cases and is known
throughout the legal community for handing even the toughest immigration
issues. Antonio G. Revilla III is a passionative advocate for immigration
reform and he will fight to keep you in the United States. Mr. Revilla
has appeared on Spanish and English television and radio programs to provide
his expert legal insights on all immigration issues. To schedule a television
or radio appearance on any immigration news development or topic of discussion,
contact us at (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323. You can also
email Antonio G. Revilla directly at email@example.com