President Trump signs orders for border wall, immigration enforcement

President Trump signs orders for border wall, immigration enforcement

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TOMAS MUNITA
FILE— A Border Patrol agent watches from the U.S. side of the border fence in Nogales, Ariz., Sept. 22, 2016. President-elect Donald J. Trump said on Jan. 6, 2017, that financing a border wall with taxpayer money would allow the work to begin more quickly. But he insisted that Mexico will ultimately reimburse the U.S. for its construction. (Tomas Munita/The New York Times)

President Trump on Wednesday quickly followed up on his signature campaign promises and signed two executive orders for building a new wall on the southwest border and stripping federal funding from municipalities that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

One of the orders also restores a controversial immigration enforcement program called “Secure Communities” that uses fingerprints to identify unauthorized immigrants in local jails.

“We’ve been talking about this right from the beginning,” Trump told the Associated Press.

Trump campaigned heavily on building a “Big, beautiful wall” at Mexico’s expense, even leading his supporters in a “Build that wall!” chant. Mexico has repeatedly said it won’t pay for Trump’s campaign promise. The Government Accountability Office has estimated it could cost $6.5 million per mile to build a single-layer fence on the border plus $4.2 million per mile for roads and more fencing, The New York Times reported, citing congressional officials.

Building additional barriers along the U.S.-Mexican border will help stop illegal immigration, but authorities must also sanction employers who hire unauthorized workers, said Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union that represents Border Patrol agents.

“All the technology and infrastructure in the world is great, but if we don’t have good policies there is still going to be a demand here,” Moran said. “We have said for a very long time that employer sanctions would go a long way toward helping get rid of this problem.”

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