President Donald Trump this week is expected to begin announcing a series of executive actions for building a new wall on the southwest border and sharply curbing the resettlement of refugees in the U.S., both promises he made on the campaign trail, according to multiple press reports.
Trump first plans to appear at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters Wednesday, according to The New York Times, and sign an executive order directing federal funds to be shifted toward the construction of the wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. He 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 signature campaign promise.
Last night, Trump took to Twitter to announce: “Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!” Early Wednesday morning, he tweeted that he was calling for a “major investigation of VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).” Trump has complained — without providing evidence to support his claim, which has been repeatedly discredited — that he would have won the popular vote if it were not for millions of unauthorized immigrants who voted for Hillary Clinton.
Trump, according to Reuters, is also considering a monthslong ban on allowing refugees to resettle in the U.S., though the ban would not apply to religious minorities escaping persecution, until more aggressive vetting is in place. A separate order would block the issuance of visas to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Georgia was home to an estimated 375,000 unauthorized immigrants in 2014, according to a Pew Research Center report. And in the fiscal year ending in September, 3,017 refugees were resettled in Georgia, mostly from Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Syria.
Atlanta area refugee resettlement agencies on Tuesday were bracing for Trump's announcements. They often highlight how refugees are fleeing deprivation and violence in their native countries and ultimately pay taxes and even create businesses when they come to Georgia.
“We hope that President Trump continues to uphold our nation’s longstanding tradition of being a refuge to the world’s most persecuted people,” said J.D. McCrary, executive director of Atlanta’s International Rescue Committee, a refugee resettlement agency.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is indicating it is not prepared to do anything immediately about an Obama administration program that is temporarily shielding more than 700,000 young immigrants from deportation. About 23,000 people living in Georgia have been accepted into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, so far. During his campaign, Trump vowed to cancel that program.
“His priority is first and foremost focused on people who pose a threat to people in our country — to criminals, frankly,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday. “And that is where he wants (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to focus their efforts. With respect to DACA, I think he is continuing to make sure his cabinet-level team starts to organize and create a plan to move forward with respect to that issue.”