Washington D.C. [United States], Jan. 26 : American President Donald Trump on Thursday signed what the White House has described as "executive orders" that will enable construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces and ordering an increase in deportations of undocumented or illegal immigrants.
"This is border security. We've been talking about this from the beginning. This is going to bring it over the top," CNN quoted Trump as saying while he signed the first of two orders during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that would implement those actions.
The executive orders would also seek to end sanctuary cities and the practice of releasing illegal immigrants detained by federal officials before trial.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the executive action directed at sanctuary cities would strip grant funding for cities that "harbor illegal immigrants." "Construction of the wall could begin in months, but planning for the massive project is "starting immediately," Trump said on Wednesday in an interview with ABC News.
Trump said he would build the wall with federal funds and would later seek reimbursement from Mexico, an idea it has been resisting.
However negotiations, he said, would begin "relatively soon." "I'm telling you there will be a payment.
It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form," Trump said. His executive action also called for a 5,000-person increase in Customs and Border Protection personnel, CNN on Tuesday quoted a source familiar with the plans.
Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, called Trump's planned executive actions as "extremist, ineffective and expensive" and accused the President of using lies about immigrants to drive U.S.
policy. "Trump is taking a wrecking ball to our immigration system. It shouldn't come as a surpise that chaos and destruction will be the outcome," Hincapie said, adding that her organization has already drafted legal papers to challenge Trump's moves.
And Greisa Martinez, advocacy director at the United We Dream Network, argued that Trump's executive actions "lay the groundwork for mass deportation." Spicer has said Trump wants to prioritize the removal of undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the US, but has refused to say whether deportation priorities would change.
Trump during his campaign called for the deportation of all illegal immigrants living in the U.S., though he said the "good ones" could return under an expedited process.
Trump propelled his campaign into controversy with his announcement speech in June 2015, where proposed some of the immigration policies he was set to enact and declare illegal immigrants as criminals and "rapists.".