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  • Krischan Jung

President Trump's Immigration Promises and Reforms: 2016-2018

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

(Edited by Daibik Chakraborty)

In the 2016 presidential elections, one of candidate Donald Trump’s main campaign issues was the topic of illegal immigration. Since August 2015, he has proposed mass deportation of illegal immigrants during his campaign, as well as increasing the security of the US-Mexico border by creating a wall among other solutions. After Trump became president, the Trump administration has embraced many policies and acts that would reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the United States.

The Trump administration has embraced the Reforming American Immigration for a Stronger Economy Act (RAISE), which would reduce the legal immigration levels of the US by 50% by halving the number of issued green cards, impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year, and end the visa diversity lottery. The RAISE Act would also prioritize skilled immigrants who were proficient in English along with their immediate family. The Trump Administration as well as supporters of the act have stated that it would help bolster the economy and critics have stated that it only benefits wealthy and educated applicants, and would only work to slow and decrease the flow of legal immigration in the United States.

Executive Order 13767-Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements is the executive order that is attempting to update and strengthen the US-Mexico Border in order to prevent illegal immigrants coming in to the United States from Mexico. It seeks 18-20 billion dollars over the course of 10 years for strengthening border security. Currently, the plans for the wall call for a 722 mile barrier mix of wall and fencing, using drones for surveillance purposes. President Trump has been adamant about making Mexico fund the wall but Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has refused to do so.

Under the Trump Administration, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy has been terminated. DACA, announced in June 15, 2012 by President Obama allowed for children brought illegally into the United States renewable 2 year periods of deferred action from deportation, and allowed them to become eligible for a work permit. However, it did not provide a path to legal citizenship. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applicants on August 15, 2012. On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced the termination of DACA, with March 5, 2018 being the official end date of the program.

In two executive orders and one presidential proclamation, President Trump has implemented travel bans from several countries barring refugees from said countries from immigrating into the United States. Executive Order 13769-Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States- was in effect from January 27, 2017 to March 16, 2017 when it was superseded by Executive oRder 13780. It suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, suspended all Syrian refugees from entering the US entirely, and suspended the visas of any immigrants entering from the countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days. Executive Order 13780, with the same name as Executive Order 13769, was signed on March 6, 2017, and described by President Trump as watered down, politically correct version of the previous executive order, which carried out the same policies and procedures. Presidential Proclamation 9645 was signed on September 24, 2017, which further expanded on the previous two executive orders. It restricts entry into the United States from Somalia, Yemen, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Libya, Iran, and Chad. Since April 10, 2018, Chad had been removed from this list of countries. Many have claimed these bans to be motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment, as a majority of the countries have a predominantly Muslim population, such as Judge Derrick Watson of the US District Court for the District of Hawaii. On June 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the travel bans in a 5-4 vote, stating that they were within the scope of the presidential authority.



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