Track the Progress of President Donald Trump's Immigration Reform Campaign Promises

Donald Trump promised to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, block funding to sanctuary cities, and reduce overall immigration levels. But has he kept his promises?

Sign the Petition to hold President Trump accountable!

Promise #1

Build the Wall


What's the Holdup?

There are several reasons for the delay in new border wall construction, including obstruction and inaction in Congress, and a myriad of lawsuits from environmental and other special interests, as well as private citizens. In February 2019, President Trump declared a national emergency, which allows him to use executive powers to redirect monies toward the construction of a border wall.

In early September 2019, approximately $3.6 billion in military construction funds was diverted toward building the wall after the Supreme Court ruled in late July that construction could move forward. At issue was lower court injunction blocking the President from taking approximately $2.5 billion in unspent military funds to fund wall projects in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. In October, the first construction of brand-new wall construction began in Texas. Until then, it was only updates to existing wall that had been completed.

Why it's Important

As of 2019, there were an estimated 14.3 million illegal aliens in the United States – a number which rises every day. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics, in FY 2019, 851,508 individuals were apprehended between ports of entry on our Southwest Border, which is more than double the 396,579 apprehensions in FY2018.  

What can I do?

Call your representative and senators and let them know you support full funding for the wall and President Trump’s national emergency declaration.

Promise 1

Status

Initiated

Despite relative non-compliance from the 115th Congress and total obstruction from the 116th Congress, the administration has replaced approximately 78 miles of dilapidated border barriers with new fencing. The administration hopes to complete 450 miles of border wall by the end of 2020.

DHS has said a wall would not span the entire 1,900 miles of the Southern border.

Promise #2

End Catch and Release


What's the Holdup?

President Trump’s effort to fulfill his promise to end “catch and release” have been hampered by Congress and some lack of support among the agencies. The Justice Department’s attempt to implement ZERO tolerance has been impeded by inadequate detention space and existing court settlements.

Why it's Important

“Catch and release” allows illegal aliens to freely remain in the United States while they await their immigration hearings. This creates backlogs in our immigration courts and presents an opportunity for illegal aliens to evade enforcement officials. Ending “catch and release” means detaining criminal aliens until they can be removed, thus keeping our cities safer.

The need for reform of the Flores Settlement Agreement is underscored by the fact that the 458,000 family units apprehended at the border so far in FY2019 eclipses the record 108,000 detained in FY2018.

What Can I Do?

Contact local, state, and Federal officials to tell them to reform Flores and end “catch and release” now.

Promise 2

Status

In-Progress

The lax treatment of illegal alien families, known as “catch and release,” continues to be one of the biggest issue fueling the surge in illegal immigration.

On April 9, 2018, President Trump signed a memorandum directing his Administration to submit reports detailing further steps to enhance immigration enforcement. The Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, and Health and Human Services all must submit reports outlining past and ongoing efforts to end “catch and release.”

In September, then-Acting DHS head Kevin McAleenan announced that “with some humanitarian and medical exceptions, DHS would no longer be releasing family units from Border Patrol Stations into the interior.”

Zero Tolerance/Flores Reform

The Trump administration also moved forward with efforts to manage the crisis. The Justice Department’s attempt to implement a zero-tolerance policy, which included detaining all illegal migrants, has been hampered by existing legal loopholes and a lack of federal detention space.

There has been movement to reform the Flores agreement, which requires illegal alien children be released after 20 days in custody. The Department of Homeland Security and HHS have promulgated regulations that would close the loophole created by the agreement and allow lengthier detention of illegal aliens. In August 2019, the administration announced a final rule paving the way for the termination of the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA) of 1997.

Promise #3

ZERO Tolerance for Criminal Aliens


What's the Holdup?

The Justice Department’s attempt to implement ZERO tolerance has been impeded by inadequate detention space and existing court settlements. Multiple cases involving this issue remain tied up in the courts, while federal judges in Pennsylvania and California have issued rulings asserting the action is unconstitutional. Congress has yet to act on legislation to settle the matter.

s Important

Under the Obama administration, criminal aliens weren’t always removed as they should have been. Removing criminal aliens is essential to a safe and peaceful America.

What can I do?

Support the efforts of FAIR and our affiliate, the Immigration Law Reform Institute, which is actively fighting on behalf of the rule of law in the courts.

Promise 3

Status

In-Progress

Since Donald Trump took office, criminal alien removals have increased and the Administration has aggressively fought against sanctuary jurisdictions that discourage cooperative state/local and federal immigration enforcement (“sanctuary” jurisdictions).

On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to ensure the safety and security of American citizens in their communities, including a threat to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities.”

The Justice Department’s attempt to implement a zero-tolerance policy has been hamstrung by existing loopholes in the law. Furthermore, a lack of planning and foresight by federal agencies in dealing with increasing numbers of detainees resulted in some illegal aliens being separated from their children. The separations drew criticism from members of Congress and forced a reexamination of how the policy was being implemented.

Subsequently, President Trump took executive action to end the separations, while placing a priority on immigration cases involving families and ordering his Administration to expand family detention capacity. Most of the children eligible to be reunited with their parents or families have been reunited.

Promise #4

Block Funding for Sanctuary Cities


Our performance measures: Executive directives and enacted legislation to deny funding for those jurisdictions that in any way discourage cooperative state/local and federal immigration enforcement.

WHAT'S THE HOLDUP?

Congress has failed to pass clear guidance to address sanctuary jurisdictions and pro-illegal-alien states, counties, and cities continue to adopt policies to give sanctuary and other protections to illegal immigrants in defiance of federal immigration law.

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

Jurisdictions that instruct local or state law enforcement not to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the federal government are putting everybody in the community at risk by allowing dangerous illegal aliens to remain in the United States with an opportunity to reoffend

Currently, there are almost 600 sanctuary jurisdictions in the United States.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Put pressure on your elected representatives and local leaders to address the issue. Also post on social media and let your friends know!

Promise 4

Status

In-Progress

STATUS

In Progress

In June 2017, President Trump ended the unconstitutional Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), a program for the parents of illegal aliens which was never fully implemented. In September, the administration moved to restore responsibility and the rule of law by rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which came before DAPA.

The Justice Department announced a 6-month phase-out of DACA, but more than a dozen states, the ACLU, and DACA beneficiaries filed lawsuits against the Trump administration to save the program.

Two U.S. district courts have since enjoined, or halted, the government’s termination of DACA and a U.S. district court (in the District of Columbia) has twice issued orders striking down the termination of DACA and reinstating the original program. However, the court in DC partially “stayed” its order that vacated the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA program. As a result of court rulings, the Administration had been compelled to allow continued renewals.

In August 2018, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA is likely unconstitutional, but allowed the program remain in place as litigation proceeds. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in November 2019 and is expected to rule on DACA sometime in 2020.

The delay in ending DACA has spawned lawsuits that extend beyond the program itself. DACA beneficiaries are now suing US employers for denying them jobs because they aren’t citizens.

Promise #5

Cancel Unconstitutional Executive Orders & Enforce All Immigration Laws


What's the Holdup?

Courts have intervened to delay the phase out of DACA, which provided Congress a chance to legislate a solution but they have to date failed to pass legislation doing so.

Why it's Important

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is unconstitutional and was only intended to be a temporary reprieve, not a path to citizenship. It is a program that can easily be abused, allowing illegal aliens to gain legal status under false pretenses.

What can I do?

Tell Congress to let DACA expire. Post about DACA and the need to end it on social media and let your friends know!

Trump Promised to enforce all immigration laws

Status

In Progress

In June 2017, President Trump ended the unconstitutional Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), a program for the parents of illegal aliens which was never fully implemented. In September, the administration moved to restore responsibility and the rule of law by rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which came before DAPA.

The Justice Department announced a 6-month phase-out of DACA, but more than a dozen states, the ACLU, and DACA beneficiaries filed lawsuits against the Trump administration to save the program.

Two U.S. district courts have since enjoined, or halted, the government’s termination of DACA and a U.S. district court (in the District of Columbia) has twice issued orders striking down the termination of DACA and reinstating the original program. However, the court in DC partially “stayed” its order that vacated the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA program. As a result of court rulings, the Administration had been compelled to allow continued renewals.

In August 2018, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA is likely unconstitutional, but allowed the program remain in place as litigation proceeds. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in November 2019 and is expected to rule on DACA sometime in 2020.

The delay in ending DACA has spawned lawsuits that extend beyond the program itself. DACA beneficiaries are now suing US employers for denying them jobs because they aren’t citizens.

Promise #6

Restrict Entry to Individuals from Countries with Terrorist Ties/Reform Legal Immigration


WHAT'S THE HOLDUP?

There is no holdup!

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

Illegal aliens are able to stay in the U.S. due to an overburdened court system. These reforms will restrict entry to potential terrorists and allow for quick deportation of illegal aliens to their home countries, and help reduce the huge immigration court backlog of roughly one million cases that allows many migrants to stay in the United States for several years.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Tell Congress they should support stronger vetting for immigrants, asylees, and refugees!

Promise 6 - Partially Complete

Status

Complete

After numerous court challenges, on June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold President Trump’s temporary restrictions on travelers from nations with ties or sympathies with terrorists. The justices voted 5-4 in Trump v. Hawaii that the ban was constitutional and is “squarely within the scope of presidential authority.”

The Trump administration ended the Obama-era policy of awarding asylum to Central American migrants who claim “credible fear” of abuse by spouses or by criminal gangs. Since January 2018, court findings of credible fear have plummeted, according to a report by Syracuse University.

The Justice Department has announced the investiture of 46 immigration judges; acted to streamline the hiring process; and stopped the immigration-court practice of “Administrative Closure,” which overburdened judges used to discard deportation cases

On March 5, 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally vacated a 2014 decision that instructed immigration-court judges that they could rely on submitted written evidence to avoid full hearings in some deportation cases.

Promise #7

Ensure Other Countries Take Their People Back When We Order Them Deported


What's the Holdup?

No major holdups.

Why It's Important

If countries won't accept their own citizens back, U.S. immigration operatives can't act with efficiency. 

What Can I Do?

Post to social media and let people know that the Trump immigration policy is working!

Promise 7

Status

Initiated

President Trump’s executive order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States suspends visas from countries that refuse to take back their citizens. So far, a combined effort from the Trump Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State has cut the number of recalcitrant nations in half!

Promise #8

Complete the Biometric Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System


What's the Holdup?

The administration is taking action to put biometric entry-exit in place at all ports-of-entry, but must secure adequate funding and support from Congress, relevant agencies and regulators.

Why it's Important

The biometric entry-exit visa tracking system was first required by Bill Clinton in 1996 as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and suggested again in 2004 by the 9/11 Commission. While the entry system needs improvement, the exit system is the real problem. In most cases, the federal government relies on good faith compliance by nonimmigrants leaving the country to notify them. Without enactment and enforcement, illegal aliens will continue to overstay their visas.

What Can I do?

Tell President Trump that implementing a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system is imperative to prevent foreign threats from entering the United States. Flooding the offices of your local representatives with phone calls is the most effective way to be heard.

Promise 8 - In progress

Status

In Progress

Trump has called for the Department of Homeland Security Secretary to “expedite” the long-planned, but not-yet-implemented biometric exit system for travelers to the U.S. in an executive order. However, the administration hasn’t taken any noticeable steps to put the program in place.

In 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) moved on to the second phase of testing for the Traveler Verification Service (TVS) used in its Biometric Entry/Exit system. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are testing biometric facial recognition and matching and have launched trials at a number of airports.

Promise #9

Turn Off the Jobs and Benefits Magnet


What's the Holdup?

Congress has failed to pass legislation which would implement E-Verify nationwide and ensure illegal aliens can’t get jobs. Continued legislative efforts have been made, but well-financed special interests, including the Western Growers Association, have blocked those measures. However, the president has taken steps to enforce the “public charge” doctrine.

Why it's Important

E-Verify is a system that allows employers to make sure their employees are authorized to work in the United States. Mandating E-verify would discourage would-be immigrants from entering the country illegally and without the ability to work, and it also provides an additional means to identify illegal aliens who could pose a threat to American citizens.

What can I do?

Pressure your elected representatives to support E-Verify, and sign up for the latest updates from FAIR.

Promise 9 - Stalled

Status

Stalled

The Trump administration is continuing to improve E-Verify, including “delivering a modernized Status Verification System, which manages cases for employees who are not found work authorized immediately.”

Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass any legislative efforts to make E-Verify, one of the most effective tools to combat hiring of illegal aliens, on a national level. Several campaigns to move legislation have been blocked by well-financed special interests. The Trump Administration is working to protect American workers by acting to reform various visa programs, including H-1B, which disadvantage native workers by allowing companies to exploit immigrant labor by paying them extremely low wages. They also have attempted to limit the number of visas issued each year and restrict family members of H-1B workers from getting visas.

On August 14, 2019, the Trump administration has also tried to end the benefits incentive by promulgating a new public charge rule, which went into effect on October 15. The Department of Homeland Security has revised and broadened the definition of “public charge” to incorporate consideration of more kinds of public benefits received by immigrants. This will clearly define long-standing law to ensure immigrants who enter and remain in the U.S. can support themselves financially and will not be a burden to the public benefits system.

Promise #10

Reduce Overall Immigration and Make it Merit-Based


What's the Holdup?

Congress has failed to pass legislation that will completely overhaul our legal immigration system to make it merit-based. Politicians also face a lot of pressure from ethnic advocacy groups that favor the current family-based immigration system (“chain migration”) that favors “who one knows” rather than “what one knows.”

Why It's Important

Adopting a merit-based immigration system would ensure that only immigrants who have the education and skills to succeed in 21st-century America could come to the United States.

What Can I do?

Tell Congress you support adopting a merit-based immigration system and reducing overall immigration numbers to a more sustainable level.

Promise 10

Issue

Initiated

Initiated

In 2017, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced the RAISE Act (S. 1720) that cuts legal immigration by 50% by ending chain migration and limiting family-based immigration to just the nuclear family (spouse and minor children).

The billed failed, but was reintroduced during the 116th Congress.

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