As President Trump begins his first full week in office, changes in immigration policy through the power of executive order are expected to begin with tougher policies. Immigration policy advocates on both sides of the issue expect these new policies to bring in higher deportation rates and possibly a reversal of those rules adopted by the Obama administration to protect undocumented youth brought to the United States as children.
Trump’s use of executive order to implement his administration’s policies includes a touch of irony as President Obama’s executive order legislation was highly criticized as a means of bypassing Congress. President Obama’s executive orders, which he signed as a means of addressing the issue when Congress would not give safe harbor from deportation and also provided for work permits through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA.) President Obama’s attempt to extend the same elements to millions more undocumented immigrants through Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans (DAPA) was halted by a federal lawsuit.
According to a Wall Street Journal story on the awaited Trump immigration moves, the new administration is likely to curb or eliminate the acceptance of refugees from Syria into the United States and other dominantly Muslim nations. Federal funding to sanctuary cities is also likely to be cut.
While a cornerstone of the Trump campaign on immigration policy included promises to end DACA, which extends temporary protections and work permits to around 750,000 young people, President Trump is also under pressure to demonstrate fairness and compassion to those “who are among the most sympathetic undocumented immigrants,” according to WSJ.
President Trump’s defunding of sanctuary cities– those cities that limit local cooperation with federal immigration officials– could serve as potent tinder in the ignition of a political firestorm and a slew of legal wrangling from strongly Democratic mayors, particularly from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
The current pending Congressional legislation extends DACA protections, but it’s still unclear whether leadership in the Republican-controlled branch will allow it through the process, or whether Democrats on the Hill would agree to near-certain Republican compromise demands.
While some changes promoted during his campaign will require Congressional votes– like requiring U.S. employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check legal work permissions for potential employees– President Trump still enjoys a wide latitude of possible actions with “broad authority to enforce U.S. immigration laws,” Dan Stein, president of the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform told WSJ.