Donald Trump is about to sign executive orders keeping immigrants from Muslim countries from entering the United States. Documents exclusively obtained by the Los Angeles Times show the U.S. President’s plans to formally initiate building the infamous wall on the border with Mexico and temporarily banning Muslims from seven countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia.
In what has been viewed as Trump’s most controversial pledges during his presidential campaign, the new U.S. President is expected to make them happen by signing the executive orders on Wednesday. His temporary ban against the Muslim countries is expected to last for several months, keeping refugees and some visa holders from the seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. The ban is expected to last until the U.S. adopts a permanent stricter border policy.
The moves are expected to dramatically change how the U.S. deals with immigration, border security and anti-terrorism.
Trump to reintroduce torture at overseas ‘black site’ prisons
On Wednesday, Trump reportedly ordered federal workers to start building the infamous wall on the border with Mexico. Additionally, the U.S. President ordered them to begin punishing sanctuary cities. While he has yet to officially announce the executive orders, early on Wednesday, he reportedly signed two executive orders calling for the beginning of construction of the border wall and lockups for the detention of immigrants attempting to cross the U.S. illegally, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Trump is also reportedly considering enhancing enforcement power for border agents and planning to reverse the Obama administration’s efforts to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. President, who assumed office less than a week ago, is also said to be considering reintroducing torture techniques at the border and bringing back secret overseas ‘black site’ prisons that allow agents to interrogate terrorism suspects.
With these two executive orders, Trump would fulfill his presidential campaign promises to crack down on immigrants entering the U.S. illegally, with an emphasis on those he believes might carry out terrorist acts against the U.S. During his presidential campaign, Trump insisted that the U.S. had become too “politically correct” to effectively defend its people from terrorism.
Muslim ban and Mexican wall: Full review of orders
On Tuesday night, Trump took to Twitter to tease America about his upcoming executive orders.
“Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!”
While the Trump administration has yet to officially announce the executive orders or the rest of the new policies signed on Wednesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the President would sign two orders today at the Department of Homeland Security.
The first executive order directs the Department of Homeland Security to begin constructing the wall on the border with Mexico. However, the order will still need approval from Congress. The Los Angeles Times noted that the order allows federal law enforcement to access federal land for border security. This would prevent anything (such as an environmental lawsuit against building the wall) from delaying construction.
The second executive order directs the agency to enhance enforcement power for border agents and restrict immigrants coming from seven Muslims countries – Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somali – from crossing the U.S. border. With this action, Trump will also threaten to strip federal funding to sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration officials.
Trump’s crackdown on immigrants triggers fears around the world
Trump is about to sign the two of the most controversial executive orders in U.S. history. During his presidential campaign, Trump’s pledges to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. were criticized not only by Democrats but also members of his own party. While these pledges were happily cheered by Trump’s supporters during his rallies, security experts have slammed his plans to keep immigrants from Muslim countries out of the United States. His anti-Muslim pledges also triggered fears among immigrants.
A memo Trump is reportedly reviewing would block all refugees from entering the country for four months (120 days). Additionally, it would restrict access to the U.S. for people from countries where the U.S. believes the governments fail to contain terrorism.
Trump’s executive orders would temporarily suspend the refugee program while new vetting procedures are introduced. That means immigration officials would have the power to decide whether refugees from some countries should be permanently banned from entering the U.S. The new measures have already drawn criticism from the rest of the world, as America has for centuries played a vital role in taking in victims of war and oppression.
Trump has also reportedly ordered the Secretaries of State and Defense to adopt new measures that would allow for creating “safe areas” in Syria and neighboring countries where Syrians might shelter from the deadly war in the Middle East.
U.K., Australia, Germany, France to be affected by Trump’s orders
Beyond that, Trump also reportedly instructed the Department of Homeland Security to review the visa issuance process in a bid to force some countries to divulge more information about their citizens trying to get into the U.S., according to the draft order.
The move would slow down or even block entirely visa issuance to countries with large Muslim populations or where there is a high terrorist threat. That means even the closest allies of the U.S. fall under that strict review. The move would put restrictions on visitors coming from 38 countries using the visa waiver program (VWP), including the U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea and many others.
While citizens of these countries are now required to submit their biographical information to a screening check before entering the U.S., the new policy would require in-person interviews. The new measures are expected to be widely criticized in the whole world after Trump officially announces them.
It’s yet unclear when the new measures would take effect, as the U.S. President has yet to announce the two orders that initiate the Mexico wall construction and the Muslim ban.