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Trump's migrant crackdown

Think Tanks | 2017-01-25 10:10:08
Trump's migrant crackdown
(Daily Mail)- President Donald Trump will begin rolling out executive actions on immigration Wednesday, beginning with steps to tighten border security - including his proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. 

The president is also expected to take action over the next few days to temporarily ban immigration from Muslim countries deemed a 'threat to national security' - namely Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia.

In addition, Trump is set to sign other domestic immigration enforcement measures that will include targeting sanctuary cities that decline to prosecute undocumented aliens.

One key policy shift being discussed is whether to follow through on a campaign promise to scrap an Obama era initiative granting protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of children of illegal immigrants.

The 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) has shielded illegal immigrant children from deportation by granting them work permits, but Trump vowed during the campaign to end the initiative.

'Many options are being worked through on DACA,' a White House official told The Washington Post.

The Donald will get started with an executive order authorizing the wall on Wednesday, while the immigration bans are still being finalized and could come later in the week.

The president posted a tweet on Tuesday evening signaling that major announcements were in the offing.

'Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow,' Trump tweeted. 'Among many other things, we will build the wall!'
The new Trump directives will also stop most refugees including those from Syria coming to America while vetting processes are reviewed. 

The one exception is religious minorities fleeing persecution - which would apply to Christians fleeing Syria and other Muslim majority countries, according to several congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter.

In total over the next few days, Trump is expected to:

Direct federal funds toward the construction of a wall along the southern border

Target so-called 'sanctuary' cities that decline to prosecute undocumented aliens

 Measures still being finalized and subject to change include: 

A four-month freeze on admission of all refugees

Grant exceptions to Christians and other minorities fleeing Muslim persecution 

Halt visas to people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen because the Muslim-majority countries that are 'terror prone'

The visa bans would last at least 30 days while vetting processes are reviewed 

Stop protecting illegal immigrants who arrived in the US as children from deportation 

The proposed plans include at least a four-month halt on all refugee admissions, as well as temporary ban on people coming from some Muslim majority countries, according to a representative of a public policy organization that monitors refugee issues. 

There is also likely to be an exception in the refugee stoppage for those fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in their country. 

That exception could cover Christians fleeing Muslim-majority nations. 
The Republican president was expected to sign the orders at the Washington headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, whose responsibilities include immigration and border security. 

On the campaign trail, Trump initially proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States to protect Americans from jihadist attacks. 

Both Trump and his nominee for attorney general, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, have since said they would focus the restrictions on countries whose migrants could pose a threat, rather than placing a ban on people who follow a specific religion. 


Many Trump supporters decried Democratic President Barack Obama's decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States over fears that those fleeing the country's civil war would carry out attacks. 

Detractors could launch legal challenges to the moves if all the countries subject to the ban are Muslim-majority nations, said immigration expert Hiroshi Motomura at UCLA School of Law. Legal arguments could claim the executive orders discriminate against a particular religion, which would be unconstitutional, he said.
"His comments during the campaign and a number of people on his team focused very much on religion as the target," Motomura said. 

Stephen Legomsky, who was chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration, said the president had the authority to limit refugee admissions and the issuance of visas to specific countries if the administration determined it was in the public’s interest.

'From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights,' said Legomsky, a professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. 'But from a policy standpoint, it would be terrible idea because there is such an urgent humanitarian need right now for refugees.'  

To block entry from the designated countries, Trump is likely to instruct the US State Department to stop issuing visas to people from those nations, according to sources familiar with the visa process.


SYRIA 

From the outside looking in, Syria appears to be a hornet's nest of terrorist groups and non-state actors.

A number of these organizations have been fighting the forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in a bloody civil war that has cost the lives of an estimated 500,000 people.

They include Islamic State (ISIS), a jihadist group that has also captured swaths of Iraq; Al-Nusra Front, which is also known as Al-Qaeda in Syria; and Jaysh al-Islam, among others, according to Globalo.

Since 1979, the Syrian government has been put on the State Department's list as a state sponsor of terrorism.

It is also known for its support of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah.



IRAQ 

Iraq has been unstable ever since the 2003 invasion of the country by US forces.

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein paved the way for Shi'ite-led governments to take over, though they have failed to bring order to the country.

Organizations like Islamic State, made up primarily of Sunni gunmen, have filled the vacuum and prevented an orderly post-Saddam transition from taking hold.

ISIS has launched dozens of terrorist attacks that have killed thousands. 

IRAN 

Iran has been designated by the State Department as 'the foremost sponsor of terrorism in 2015, providing a range of support, including financial, training, and equipment, to groups around the world,' according to CNN.

The US says that Iran has given weapons and cash to organizations like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iraqi Shi'ite groups, including Kata'ib Hizballah.

Both organizations are designated as terrorist groups by the State Department. 


LIBYA 

Libya, the North African nation, has been a powder keg in which terrorist organizations have been fighting for control of the country since the NATO-backed ouster of long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The US intelligence community says that jihadist organizations have been strengthening their grip on the country, according to The Washington Times.
ISIS has been particularly active there.

'There are, in addition to ISIL, probably six or eight other terrorist groups that have gathered in Libya,' James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, told Congress in 2015.
'So it's a magnet because, essentially, it's ungoverned.'


SOMALIA 

Somalia is widely regarded as a failed state.

It was ranked as the most fragile country in the world by the Fund for Peace in 2016.

Without a functioning central government, the East African country has disintegrated further into civil war.
Its UN-backed government has been at war with Al-Shabab, a group regarded by both the US and the United Kingdom as a terrorist organization, according to the BBC.

Al-Shabab is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 gunmen from across the Muslim world.

The organization propagates the austere Wahabi version of Islam whose origins lie in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Shabab has imposed strict clerical rule in areas that it has captured in Somalia, where it has stoned women to death for the crime of adultery and amputated the hands of thieves.

Sudan 

Sudan was placed on the State Department’s list of terrorism sponsors in 1993.
At the time, it was alleged that the government harbored figures like Osama bin Laden in addition to fighters from al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Abu Nidal Organization, and Jamaat al-Islamiyya.

In the late 1990s, however, Sudan showed willingness to cooperate with the West in fighting terrorism.

In May 2004, Sudan was removed from a list of countries that were ‘not fully cooperating’ with American anti-terrorism efforts.
However, the Sudanese government remains on the terror sponsor list due to its support of Hamas, the Palestinian group fighting Israel. 


Yemen

Yemen, one of the most impoverished Arab countries, has been in the grip of a civil war fought between forces loyal to the established government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebel movement, according to the BBC.
The Houthis are a Shi’ite political movement that took control of the Yemenite capital in 2014.

Since then, regional forces backed by Sunni governments have tried to roll back their progress, while Shi’ite actors like Iran and Hezbollah have given the Houthis support.
Nearly 7,000 people have died and 35,000 have been wounded since the war erupted in March 2015.

Most of the casualties have resulted from air strikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition – which has the backing of the US.
The country has been wracked by violence and chaos, with al Qaeda launching attacks and separatist movements having taken control of the southern part of the country.



He could also instruct US Customs and Border Protection to stop any current visa holders from those countries from entering the United States. 

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that the State and Homeland Security departments would work on the vetting process once Trump's nominee to head the State Department, Rex Tillerson, is installed. 

Other measures may include directing all agencies to finish work on a biometric identification system for non-citizens entering and exiting the United States and a crackdown on immigrants fraudulently receiving government benefits, according to the congressional aides and immigration experts. 

As president, Trump can use an executive order to halt refugee processing. President George W. Bush used that same power in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

Refugee security vetting was reviewed and the process was restarted several months later.
Trump's insistence that Mexico would pay for the wall was among his most popular proposals on the campaign trail, sparking enthusiastic cheers at his raucous rallies.

Mexico has repeatedly said it will not pay for any border wall. 

Earlier this month, Trump said the building project would initially be paid for with a congressionally approved spending bill and Mexico will eventually reimburse the US, though he has not specified how he would guarantee payments.
Trump will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the White House next week.

In claiming authority to build a wall, Trump may rely on a 2006 law that authorized several hundred miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile frontier. 
That bill led to the construction of about 700 miles of various kinds of fencing designed to block both vehicles and pedestrians.

The Secure Fence Act was signed by then-President George W. Bush and the majority of the fencing in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California was built before he left office. 
The last remnants were completed after President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

The Trump administration also must adhere to a decades-old border treaty with Mexico that limits where and how structures can be built along the border. 
The 1970 treaty requires that structures cannot disrupt the flow of the rivers, which define the US-Mexican border along Texas and 24 miles in Arizona, according to The International Boundary and Water Commission, a joint US-Mexican agency that administers the treaty.

Other executive actions expected Wednesday include bolstering border patrol agents and ending what Republicans have argued is a catch-and-release system at the border. 

Currently, some immigrants caught crossing the border illegally are given notices to report back to immigration officials at a later date.

If Trump's actions would result in those caught being immediately jailed, the administration would have to grapple with how to pay for jail space to detain everyone and what to do with children caught crossing the border with their parents. 









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