Since the onset of Donald Trump’s campaign, we’ve been hearing about his plan to build a wall and about his strict stance on immigration issues. Up to this point, we haven’t heard many details regarding these new policies he plans to implement, but we finally got a glimpse in his recent speech out of Phoenix. Although he promises to “Make America Great Again,” can he really follow through with his plans for immigration policies?
Build a Wall
This has been Trump’s priority from the get go. The wall will be built with above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance, and enough manpower to guard the wall, locate tunnels, and keep out cartels. The most interesting part of his plan—to have Mexico pay for 100% of the wall. Not exactly sure how he plans to make this happen.
In fact, after Trump’s speech, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto adamantly insisted that Mexico would not pay for the wall and Mexico’s foreign Minister says this point is nonnegotiable. Although Trump denies ever speaking with him about payment of the wall, Peña Nieto maintains he made this point clear to Trump during their recent meeting.
Trump plans to detain illegal immigrants until they can be physically deported back to the country they came from, rather than release them just across the border, but he can’t entirely keep this promise either, as many countries refuse to take back their own citizens. Not only that, but this could result in lengthy and unnecessary detaining periods which presents civil rights issues.
Zero Tolerance for Criminals
The day he takes office, Trump plans to remove the 2 million criminal aliens from the country. Other than issue detainers for illegal immigrants immediately upon arrest and triple the number of deportation officers within the department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Trump didn’t give much other detail. He did, however, state he plans to pass what he calls “Kate’s Law,” which would mandate minimum sentences for criminal aliens convicted of illegal re-entry.
Hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents is also on the list, but there was no mention of the costs associated with hiring this nearly 25% increase.
Block Funding for Sanctuary Cities
Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars. Withholding federal money for compliance with federal policies isn’t a new concept, as it’s regularly done today so this one could fly.
Cancel Unconstitutional Executive Orders and Enforce All Immigration Laws
In 2012, President Obama granted temporary reprieve from deportation to migrant children. Trump, along with many others, believe these actions were unconstitutional. In 2014, Obama tried to expand this program; Texas and 25 other states challenged the constitutionality of his action. A federal judge stayed the President’s executive order and it remains that way ever since the Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4-4 decision.
Presidents get their powers to issue executive orders only when authority is taken from the constitution, current legislation, or from Congress delegating such power. The law mandates illegal aliens be removed and, according to the federal Judge’s opinion, there isn’t a law in effect that gave the administration the power to issue this order. Supporters say Congress delegated the power to deal with immigration issues but, with an equally divided court, the Supreme Court effectively refused to answer the question.
Regardless, Trump would have the authority to revoke Obama’s executive order.
Only Issue Visas from Countries with Adequate Screening
Trump initially called for banning Muslims from entering the country and later switched to banning Syrian refugees. Now, his stance appears to have softened by claiming only individuals placed through “extreme vetting” will be allowed in, but this could just be a way to mask the discriminatory motives behind his initial harsh stance.
Trump also stated he would create a list of countries from which immigration will be suspended, where he plans to build safe zones in order for refugees to stay in their home region. Once again, he promises others will foot the bill— “we’ll get the money from the gulf states.”
Ensure Countries Take Their Deported People Back
There are several countries that are uncooperative and refuse to take back their citizens. However, the Supreme Court has ruled we cannot permanently detain these illegal aliens indefinitely, so any illegal criminals must be released after their sentence has been served.
Trump did not offer a solution on how he plans to force other countries to take back their citizens.
Cut Off Benefits and Reform Legislation to Benefit American Workers
Trump plans to ensure E-verify, an online system employers can use to check whether applicants are authorized to work in the U.S., is fully utilized. Additionally, no government benefits for illegal immigrants will be issued.
Biometric Entry-Exist Visa Tracking System
This one is actually already law, but it’s never been implemented or used. Trump wants to begin this process in order to track expired visas. This would require building infrastructures at points of entry and exit, new personnel, and a whole slew of other hurdles, which is why it’s never been implemented.
Authored by Ashley Roncevic, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law