Trump Administration Immigration Accomplishments
August 2018 | View the PDF
President Trump is working hard to restore the rule of law and make immigration work for America. View a timeline of the Trump Administration's immigration accomplishments.
John Kelly Confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security
John Kelly is a four-star general who previously served at the head of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and retired from the marines in 2016. As former commander of SOUTHCOM, Kelly previously dealt with the security challenges that are exacerbated by our nation’s porous borders and by political policies that have served as an inducement for people to cross our borders illegally. His early nomination and confirmation were a clear indication that under the Trump administration, homeland security would be a primary focus.
President Trump Withdraws the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
The TPP is a trade agreement that was negotiated by former President Obama. Long opposed by FAIR, a key feature of the trade agreement was a “temporary entry” guest worker program that would have increased immigration without a say from Congress (which has plenary authority over immigration) or the American people.
President Trump Signs Executive Order Authorizing Construction of Border Wall on the Southern Border
Executive Order 13767, titled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” authorized the immediate construction of a border wall on America’s southern border. The executive order used the power vested in the President to “deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border, prevent further illegal immigration into the United States, and repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently and humanely.”
President Trump Signs Executive Order Withholding Funds From Sanctuary Jurisdictions
Executive Order 13768, titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” stated that sanctuary jurisdictions who refused to comply with immigration enforcement measures would not be eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security.*
Later that year, a federal judge issued a summary judgment that ruled Section 9(a) of the Executive Order was unconstitutional on its face and issued a permanent nationwide injunction against its implementation.
President Trump Signs Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
Executive Order 13769, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” imposed a temporary ban on entry by individuals from countries that are hotbeds for terrorism. Specifically, this temporary ban applied to the following countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan. Due to various court rulings, this Executive Order was eventually superseded by Executive Order 13780.
President Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
Neil Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch is a proponent of textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in interpreting the United States Constitution.
Jeff Sessions Sworn in as 84th Attorney General of the United States
Jeff Sessions, who served as a U.S. Attorney and Alabama Attorney General prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1996, consistently reaffirmed his commitment to immigration policies that serve the national interest and are rooted in the rule of law during his confirmation hearings.
President Trump Signs Executive Order Ensuring Proper Vetting of Foreign Nationals Before They Enter the United States
Executive Order 13780, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” ensured that foreign nationals were properly vetted before they gain entry to the country. This EO revised and replaced the similar order the President signed in January. The revised executive order imposed a temporary freeze on entry by individuals from six countries that are hotbeds for terrorism, and suspended the entry into the U.S. for 90 days for aliens from the following countries: Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan.
President Trump Signs Buy American and Hire American Executive Order
Executive Order 13788, titled “Buy American and Hire American,” directed government departments to review guest worker programs and implement changes that favor American workers over cheap foreign labor. The executive order also sought to reform how H-1B visas are awarded, calling on federal agencies to suggest changes to the programs to ensure jobs go to the most-skilled or highest-paid applicants.
President Trump Signs Executive Order Establishing the Commission on Election Integrity
Executive Order 13799 titled, “the Establishment of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,” established the Commission on Election Integrity, which reviews claims of voter fraud and improper registration.
Trump Administration Withdraws DAPA Amnesty
The Department of Homeland Security announced the termination of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) amnesty program, which granted deportation relief and work authorization to the illegal alien parents of U.S. citizen or green card holder children.
President Trump Fulfills Campaign Promise to End DACA
The Trump Administration announced plans to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program, unlawfully created by President Obama in 2012.
· Due to various court cases, at the time of this publication, current DACA recipients remain eligible to renew permits, but new applicants remain prohibited from applying.
President Trump Issues Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats
The Proclamation titled, “the Proclamation on Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats,” limits entry into the U.S. of nationals from eight countries (Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia), replacing much of President Trump’s initial national security executive order (“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”).
President Trump Sets FY 2018 Refugee Cap to Responsible 45,000
The Trump administration informed Congress that it will limit the number of refugees entering the United States to 45,000 for the next fiscal year. The new cap returned the refugee resettlement rate back to traditional levels. Previously, President Obama had increased the annual cap for FY 2017 by more than double from FY 2015, to an unprecedented 110,000 refugees per year, before leaving office.
Trump Administration Terminates Temporary Protected Status for Haiti
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that conditions in Haiti no longer warranted continuation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Despite acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke’s determination “that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist,” the department generously extended Haitian TPS beneficiaries an 18 month grace period to allow for “an orderly transition” to their homeland.
Kelly Deputy Nielsen Sworn in as DHS Secretary
After tapping former-DHS Secretary Kelly to be White House Chief of Staff, President Trump nominated Kirstjen Nielsen to be the sixth Secretary of Homeland Security, who was quickly confirmed and sworn in. Nielsen served as Kelly’s top aide during his stint at DHS and continued to work as his deputy chief of staff after he moved to the West Wing. Previously, Nielsen served President Bush as Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Prevention, Preparedness, and Response.
Trump Administration Ends TPS for El Salvador
New DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced that the agency will end TPS for roughly 260,000 Salvadorans who have enjoyed protections since a series of devastating earthquakes ravaged their country nearly 20 years ago. This determination was long overdue and welcome, sending the strongest signal yet that rampant abuse of the TPS program will not be accepted by the Trump administration.
Justice Department Sues California Over Sanctuary Policies
The Justice Department escalated its war on dangerous sanctuary jurisdictions, alleging in a lawsuit that three recently enacted California laws obstruct enforcement of federal immigration law and harm public safety.
President Trump Deploys National Guard to Southern Border
After Congress failed to fund the border wall and other resources, President Trump directed the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to work together with governors to deploy the National Guard to the southern border. While the Guardsmen are not permitted to make arrests, they cover supportive roles giving Border Patrol agents time for substantive activities including the apprehension and detention of illegal aliens.
Justice Department Imposes Quotas on Immigration Judges
The Department of Justice introduced production quotas for immigration judges to reduce the enormous immigration court backlog. Immigration courts handle the civil cases of illegal aliens seeking to stay in the United States. With a backlog approaching 700,000 cases, the delayed system allows people who should be swiftly deported to stay in the country for years waiting for a court date. In many cases, illegal aliens don’t even bother to show up in court, electing to disappear into the country to live and work in the shadows.
Trump Administration Announces Citizenship Question on 2020 Census
The Department of Commerce announced that it would include a question on the 2020 Census asking whether respondents are U.S. citizens. The announcement touched off a firestorm of protest by Democratic lawmakers and the open borders lobby, claiming that asking people to anonymously check a box on a form is threatening and will affect the integrity of the decennial headcount.
Trump Administration Terminates TPS for Honduras
Winding down TPS for Hondurans follows similar steps in recent months to end "temporary" protections for other nations that, in some cases, have stretched out for two decades. In doing so, the administration has restored public confidence that the TPS program can function as intended – namely, providing short term relief to people whose nations have been disrupted by a natural disaster or a political crisis.
Justice Department Announces “Zero Tolerance Policy” for Illegal Entry
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, adamantly telegraphed this new policy change: “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple. If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you make false statements to an immigration officer or file a fraudulent asylum claim, that’s a felony. If you help others to do so, that’s a felony, too. You’re going to jail. So if you’re going to come to this country, come here legally. Don’t come here illegally.”
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Trump Administration on Travel Ban
The Supreme Court issues a decision upholding the Trump administration’s ban on travel from certain countries that posed national security risks. As FAIR has consistently noted, Congress has delegated to the president clear, unambiguous authority to suspend entry to any alien or class of aliens deemed detrimental to the interests of the United States. Therefore, the Supreme Court interpreted the law correctly and acted responsibly when it ruled the ban to be constitutional.
President Trump Nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court
FAIR hailed Kavanaugh as a superb choice to fill the current vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. In several immigration-related dissents, Judge Kavanaugh rejected illegal alien voting in union elections and noted that “mere economic expediency does not authorize an employer to displace American workers for foreign workers.”
Justice Department Touts New Immigration Judges, Quicker Hiring
The Justice Department hailed progress in reducing long-standing delays in hiring more immigration judges. In Early August, 23 new judges were invested by the department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the largest class since at least 2010, the department announced. That represents a cut in average hiring time by more than 50 percent, which the department said was the result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' effort at streamlining hiring under deadlines announced last year.