WASHINGTON — President Trump is making good on his promise to build a wall along the United States/Mexico border and to get tougher on illegal immigration.
Trump signed executive orders Wednesday ordering the building of a wall along the border and also calling for 5,000 additional border patrol agents and 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The latter is contingent upon congressional funding, but the wall may not require it. That’s because a 2006 law – signed by President George W. Bush — funded a wall that was never completed after Democrats took control of Congress.
“We are going to restore the rule of law in the United States,” Trump said in an address to the Department of Homeland Security. “Beginning today the United States gets control of its borders.”
The wall will cost a lot — $15 billion total, or $3 million to $10 million a mile, NPR reported. The Washington Post’s estimate was even higher: $20 billion.
“A nation without borders is not a nation,” he said.
Trump still plans on having the Mexican government pay for the wall by reimbursing the U.S.
“All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico,” Trump told ABC News. “I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. What I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico. We want to have a very stable, very solid Mexico.”
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Trump contends the wall will benefit Mexico by cutting down on the number of people from Central America crossing through that country. Some of the wall’s costs might be covered by redirecting foreign aid money that is going to Mexico, CNN reported.
Construction on the wall, Trump added, will likely begin within months.
“Certainly, planning is starting immediately,” he said.
Around one-third of the US-Mexico border is already blocked by a fence.
The wall was just one of several actions on immigration in two executive orders Trump signed. Other actions included:
- Withholding federal funds from “sanctuary cities” where local governments refuse to support enforcement of federal immigration laws.
- Stepping up prosecutions of people accused of committing crimes along the border.
- Increasing detention of illegal immigrants.
- Forcing other countries to take back criminal aliens by withholding U.S. Visas to their citizens.
- Giving ICE more power to arrest, detain and deport illegal immigrants.
“The recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico has placed a significant strain on Federal resources and overwhelmed agencies charged with border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the local communities into which many of the aliens are placed,” one of the executive orders reads. “Transnational criminal organizations operate sophisticated drug- and human-trafficking networks and smuggling operations on both sides of the southern border, contributing to a significant increase in violent crime and United States deaths from dangerous drugs. Among those who illegally enter are those who seek to harm Americans through acts of terror or criminal conduct. Continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States.”
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