President Donald Trump, after vowing to enact tougher immigration laws during his campaign, appears to be following through on his promises. On Wednesday, the president signed two executive orders pertaining to U.S. immigration and border control.
For 11 million undocumented immigrants across the country and their families, Trump’s campaign rhetoric has sparked feelings of fear and uncertainty. Those fears have only grown since the election, as Trump pushes forward with his hardline immigration approach and infamous Mexican border wall.
The Proposed Wall
One executive order Trump signed Wednesday instructs the Homeland Security Secretary to plan, design, and construct a wall along the U.S.- Mexican border to limit border crossings. Trump’s order is likely to face significant challenges. Despite his campaign, he promised he would force Mexico to pay for the wall; however, Trump is now asking Congress to use federal funds to foot the bill while offering vague statements about eventual reimbursement from Mexico. The border security order also calls for the Department of Homeland Security to hire an additional 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and increase training in the practice of interrogation, detention, arrests, and searches, as well as an increase in the number of detention facilities along the border.
Interior Security and Deportation
The other executive order Trump signed Wednesday deals with interior security and could have serious implications for millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. This order indicates that millions of people could be categorized as a “priority for deportation,” and it specifically targets sanctuary jurisdictions, also known as sanctuary cities.
During the campaign, Trump walked back his initial assertions that all undocumented immigrants would be deported, and shifted his focus to the deportation of undocumented criminals. The broad wording and generalities in Trump’s executive order, however, leave room for a wide range of interpretations. Rather than specifically targeting people convicted of violent crimes, the order calls for priority deportation status for anyone who has been charged with a criminal offense or those who have “committed acts that constitute as a chargeable offense.” This could potentially include anyone who entered the U.S. without going through official channels, which is technically a criminal misdemeanor. Immigration lawyers across the country are gearing up for legal challenges to the broadly worded order.
Also driving opposition and legal speculation are provisions within the interior security order that threaten to pull federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions. Sanctuary states and cities across the country, including Philadelphia, have vowed to maintain longstanding policies and practices that grant rights and protections to undocumented immigrants, despite the executive order. Although the new administration has said it would deny federal funding to sanctuary cities and states that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), there are limits to what funds can legally be cut. The order is likely to face a number of legal challenges before it can be implemented.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Offer Compassionate Counsel to Immigrant Families in Philadelphia
Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are committed to fighting for the rights and dignity of all immigrants in the U.S. We understand the fear and anxiety many are feeling at this time, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation and how we can help. Contact us online or call 215-925-4435 for more information or to schedule a consultation with an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer.