Trump signs papers for wall on Mexico border, immigration enforcement
WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Donald Trump signed an executive action on Wednesday to begin planning for a border wall with Mexico. He believes a wall will help to keep people from illegally crossing into the United States.
Executive actions are informal moves or proposals by the president. Executive orders are official documents that the president uses to manage the federal government.
Trump said that construction on the project would begin in a few months. He also repeated his promise that American taxpayers would not have to pay for the wall. He insists the United States will be paid back by the Mexican government for the costs of the billion-dollar wall.
When asked when construction would begin, Trump said, "As soon as we can physically do it. I would say in months … Certainly, planning is starting immediately."
Biggest Campaign Promise
Trump then visited the Department of Homeland Security, which works to secure the United States from threats. He signed two executive orders on immigration, which is when someone born in one country moves to another country. His executive orders will add more holding centers for people here illegally. Trump also wants to take away the money that the U.S. government gives cities that do not follow the nation's immigration laws.
The construction of a wall along the southern U.S. border was Trump's biggest campaign promise. He blamed people who were not in the country legally for taking away Americans' jobs. He also said people being here without legal permission is a safety concern for Americans.
"Building a barrier is more than just a campaign promise," said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. He said the wall is a solution to making a weak border strong.
Construction Bill To Be Determined
Trump said from the beginning of his presidential campaign he would make Mexico pay for the wall. Mexican leaders have shunned that idea. Trump has said the project will get started with U.S. tax dollars so construction can begin quickly.
Those who work in the construction industry believe the project could cost up to $20 billion. Trump is scheduled to welcome Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to the White House next week.
We will be paid back by Mexico at a later date, Trump said. "I'm just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form."
Campaign Of Exaggerations
White House officials said Trump's appearance at the Department of Homeland Security is the first step in a series of executive actions to fulfill his campaign promises on immigration. These actions are likely to spark serious resistance from the immigrant rights community. Members of this group have accused Trump of exaggerating problems to win support at the expense of immigrants and refugees.
"The hateful, xenophobic, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim" talk that happened throughout "the Trump campaign is starting to become a reality," said Marielena Hincapie. She leads the National Immigration Law Center, which helps immigrants understand their rights. "Chaos and destruction will be the outcome."
Spicer said the executive actions would include the Department of Homeland Security limiting money to cities that do not report undocumented immigrants to the national government. Additionally, the Trump administration plans to re-start the Secure Communities program, which gives more immigration enforcement powers to local authorities. The program had been shut down by the Obama administration over concerns that it had led to abuse.
Other Programs Being Watched
Spicer said Trump will not sign any orders overturning the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program just yet. DACA has allowed more than 700,000 younger immigrants brought to the country illegally as children to apply for two-year work visas in the United States.
Trump has promised to overturn DACA, which has been an extremely popular program among the immigrant rights community.
Spicer said the president understands that DACA affects children. "He's a family man. He has a huge heart," Spicer said. Trump will work through DACA "in a very humane way."