Trump gives executive order to build border wall

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Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

This story has been updated.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump gave executive orders to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and to defund sanctuary cities that protect undocumented immigrants.

"I believe the steps we will take starting right now will improve the safety in both of our countries," Trump said Wednesday at the Department of Homeland Security. "A nation without borders is not a nation."

According to Reuters, the wall will be about 2,000 miles and planning will begin soon, and Trump has demanded Mexico pay for its construction.

“We'll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico," Trump told ABC Wednesday. "I'm just telling you there will be a payment.”

The two orders executed today are part of several other orders to be issued as early as this week to block Mexican immigrants and refugees from entering the U.S.

Austin City Council member Greg Casar said local police officers should prioritize protecting the community rather than acting as immigration enforcers, according to a press release. 

“When police officers act as immigration enforcers, community members are less likely to report crimes or testify in court,” Casar said. “Our cities are safer when our police can focus on their jobs as they do in Austin — protecting the public from crime.”

Casar said Austin shouldn’t abide by Trump’s executive action on immigration policies because it’s the city’s responsibility to self-govern.

“Austin must not back down on our principles of justice, public safety and constitutional rights,” Casar said. “We will protect our cities’ residents, resources and the ability granted to us by the Texas voters to govern responsibly.” 

Another order expected to roll out would temporarily ban refugees over several months unless they are of a minority religion fleeing persecution. Another would not accept individuals with visas from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia to enter.

“Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow,” Trump tweeted at 8:37 p.m. on Tuesday. “Among many other things, we will build the wall!"

Trump met with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss such actions on carrying out the orders, although plans have not been vetted, according to Reuters.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the administration will focus on undocumented immigrants in the states who have committed crimes or have expired visas, according to CNN.

"The president's been very, very clear that we need to direct agencies to focus on those who are in this country illegally and have a record — a criminal record or pose a threat to the American people,” Spicer said. “That's where the priority's going to be.”

According to the Washington Post, Trump had campaigned on stronger anti-immigration laws, initiating talks of a ban on Muslim immigrants and a Muslim registry to keep track on Muslims entering and leaving the states, but it is uncertain what he plans to do.

In a press briefing Monday, Spicer said Trump will later consider overhauling former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors to not be deported for two years to attend college and/or work.

Spicer said Trump may also eliminate the Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, another program by Obama to allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. if they have lived in the states since 2010 and have children who are American citizens.