Throughout his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to take comprehensive action against illegal immigration. He is already working to keep that pledge.
By enforcing the immigrations laws already on the books. A novel concept, right? And yet, it’s what we fought for throughout former President Obama’s eight years in office.
There has been much speculation about Trump’s border wall, but not much about the executive orders he just signed. It can easily be argued that these mandates will have a far greater impact than the wall over the long term.
First, it will put an end to catch and release. This was a practice that involved releasing detainees with a mandate to show up in court at a later date. Naturally, the detainees would never return. Instead, they would just return to their everyday lives.
When an illegal immigrant is caught crossing the border, their cases will be handled swiftly and immediately. According to the border enforcement order, “The Secretary [of Homeland Security] shall immediately take all appropriate actions to ensure the detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law pending the outcome of their removal proceedings or their removal from the country to the extent permitted by law.”
There will be immigration judges present to adjudicate these cases as they occur. This will negate the need for the detainee to show up in court at a later date.
Trump’s order will also make for speedier deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes. It will enable authorities to draft removal paperwork at the time the immigrant is charged with a crime. If the illegal alien is convicted, they will be deported immediately.
The order operates under the automatic assumption that if a foreign citizen comes to the U.S. illegally, then commits another crime, they do not have the right to remain in the country.
The new executive order will also address sanctuary cities. These are municipalities that refuse to comply with the federal government’s mandate that they detain any illegal immigrant who has been arrested for a crime. Under the mandate, local police are also required to alert federal immigration enforcement agencies when they have a suspect in custody who came into the United States illegally.
Sanctuary cities make it easier for illegal immigrants to remain in the States. If an illegal immigrant is arrested for a crime, they won’t have to worry about being deported. According to the order, “Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.”
Under Trump’s order, the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security will be able to determine that these cities are not eligible to receive federal grants. This may cause many sanctuary cities to rethink their policies regarding illegal immigration.
Lastly, the order empowers enforcement agencies to enforce the law. Under the Obama administration, these groups had their hands tied. They were not allowed to enforce existing immigration laws. Now, they can finally do their jobs. The order states “I hereby direct agencies to employ all lawful means to ensure the faithful execution of the immigration laws of the United States against all removable aliens.”
This is important. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, Department of Homeland Security Officers were effectively muzzled, encouraging illegal immigration to occur unchecked.
While President Trump’s executive orders will start the process of allowing law enforcement to do their jobs, Congress will have to approve additional measures in order to take greater action against illegal immigration. In a piece for the Washington Examiner, author Byron York wrote the following:
Trump’s orders stop short of measures that would require the approval of Congress, such as resetting the numbers of immigrants allowed to enter the country each year. But they still go a long way. And the early response among Republicans on Capitol Hill was encouraging for the new administration.
This executive order is a significant step in minimizing the number of immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally, and it’s what conservatives have been waiting for.