President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order directing that a wall be constructed along the U.S.-Mexican border — one of several planned steps to crack down on immigration and refugee settlement.
Although Congress has authorized no funding for the wall, Trump’s executive order calls for already appropriated federal funds to be used for its construction. He also signed a second order to triple the number of immigration officers and crack down on sanctuary cities.
“If you followed Trump during his campaign, none of this is surprising,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “He has continually said immigrants are a danger to public safety, when in fact the opposite is true. Studies have shown that immigrants are less likely to become criminals than the born-here population. We stand with the people who want to come here, work hard, support their families and live the American dream just like many generations of immigrants who came before them.”
In fact, a 2015 study by the American Immigration Council shows that higher levels of immigration are associated with lower crime rates.
“We are not opposed to border security, but it must be part of comprehensive reform that also recognizes labor needs, as well as appropriate status for those who are already here,” Stone said. “Otherwise the true issues around immigration will not really be solved. We stand ready to work with Congress and the president on comprehensive reform.”
Other steps either planned or considered by the administration include shutting down refugee resettlement programs, and temporarily banning the issuance of U.S. visas to people from selected countries in the Middle East.
For now, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will continue to operate. Trump promised during the campaign to end the program on day one of his administration, but on Monday, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said that ending the program was no longer a priority, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported. Spicer indicated on Wednesday that the president will work through the issue “in a humane way.”
The program, instituted by the Obama administration in 2012, allows undocumented residents who were brought to the United States as children, commonly known as “Dreamers,” to apply for legal status to live and work in the U.S.
According to the Review-Journal, the Department of Homeland Security has so far approved 664,607 applications under the program. As of Monday, DACA applications continue to be processed.