Trump’s big blitz on im­mi­grants

Mex­i­can wall to be ap­proved

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

PRES­I­DENT Don­ald Trump was yes­ter­day sched­uled to sign ex­ec­u­tive or­ders en­abling con­struc­tion of his pro­posed wall on the US-Mex­ico border, ban­ning en­try to the coun­try from seven ma­jor Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries, and tar­get­ing cities where lo­cal lead­ers refuse to hand over il­le­gal im­mi­grants for de­por­ta­tion.

The ac­tions, part of a fo­cus on im­mi­gra­tion, are among an ar­ray of sweep­ing changes to the na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem un­der con­sid­er­a­tion by the new pres­i­dent. The moves rep­re­sent Trump’s first ef­fort to de­liver on per­haps the sig­na­ture is­sue that drove his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign: his be­lief that il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion is out of con­trol and threat­en­ing the coun­try’s safety and se­cu­rity.

Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion blitz this week is widely seen in­side the White House as a vic­tory for the self-de­scribed pop­ulist wing of his in­ner cir­cle – which in­cludes chief strate­gist Stephen Ban­non, at­tor­ney-gen­eral nom­i­nee Jeff Ses­sions and top pol­icy ad­viser Stephen Miller.

But dis­cus­sions were on­go­ing yes­ter­day about just how far to go on some poli­cies, in par­tic­u­lar the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gramme, known as Daca. The 2012 ini­tia­tive has given tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion from de­por­ta­tion to hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple who ar­rived in the US as chil­dren. Trump vowed dur­ing the cam­paign to re­verse it.

Of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing, but have not yet de­cided, whether to in­def­i­nitely shut down the pro­gramme that al­lows refugees from war-torn Syria into the US. Trump may also put the en­tire refugee pro­gramme for all coun­tries on hold for four months, ac­cord­ing to an ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the op­tions un­der dis­cus­sion.

This of­fi­cial said that Trump will also po­ten­tially bar for 30 days any travel to the US from Iraq, Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men – all Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries – un­til new visa pro­ce­dures are devel­oped.

Yes­ter­day, Trump was ex­pected to sign the or­ders re­lat­ing to the wall and “sanc­tu­ary cities”. The ef­fort to crack down on these lo­cal­i­ties will res­onate with the Repub­li­can base, which has long crit­i­cised lo­cal of­fi­cials who refuse to co-op­er­ate with fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.

Sev­eral peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions em­pha­sised that the week’s ac­tions were in­tended to start ful­fill­ing Trump’s cam­paign prom­ises on im­mi­gra­tion and bring Repub­li­cans be­hind Trump on the is­sue, one day be­fore he speaks at to­day’s con­gres­sional Repub­li­can re­treat in Philadel­phia.

White House aides said Trump would meet sev­eral par­ents of chil­dren who were killed by im­mi­grants who are in the coun­try il­le­gally. These ac­tivists, who re­fer to them­selves as “an­gel moms,” were fre­quently fea­tured dur­ing Trump’s cam­paign ral­lies and dur­ing the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

Any im­mi­gra­tion mea­sures an­nounced by the pres­i­dent will set up a fierce bat­tle in Trump’s first week be­tween the White House and ad­vo­cates for im­mi­grants, who re­acted with alarm as word spread that im­mi­gra­tion was on the ta­ble.

Trump’s pro­posed wall is per­haps his most fa­mous and dis­puted cam­paign pro­posal, and he feels so strongly about it that he told The Wash­ing­ton Post in an in­ter­view last year that build­ing the struc­ture “is easy…”

“It’s not even a dif­fi­cult pro­ject if you know what you’re do­ing.”

Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent En­rique Peña Ni­eto will visit the US next week to meet Trump. Het has said that Mex­ico would not pay for Trump’s border wall de­spite Trump’s in­sis­tence that the coun­try would pro­vide fund­ing at a later date.

House Repub­li­cans have said they plan to fund the bar­rier, which some ex­perts have es­ti­mated will cost more than $20 bil­lion (R265bn). But ex­perts say the wall would face numer­ous ob­sta­cles, such as en­vi­ron­men­tal and en­gi­neer­ing prob­lems.

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