A barrage of legal and fiscal challenges is sure to dog two executive orders President Trump signed Wednesday that reflect his promises to build a “great wall” and attack cities sympathetic to undocumented residents. On Wednesday, Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin planning for a 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico wall, as well as the addition of additional border agents, more detention centers and a plan to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities.”
The president said his executive orders would restore “rule of law” and control of the border. “What I’m doing is good for the United States,” he said. “It’s also going to be good for Mexico.” But his actions set off angry denunciations from civil rights groups that accuse Trump of scapegoating immigrants by feeding the public only negative portrayals of Mexicans, Muslims and undocumented people generally.
“President Trump made a campaign out of demonizing immigrants and spreading lies…Today, he is poised to use those lies as a cornerstone of public policy, and the consequences are devastating for all of us,” said Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center. “These new executive actions are extremist, ineffective and expensive.”
She also said Trump’s rhetoric has put those who “look like” immigrants or Muslims in danger.
The NILC and other organizations—and U.S. business associations as well—have long pushed for compromise immigration solutions that would split apart fewer established families, allow some people to legalize and require U.S. businesses to use electronic checks on work documents, as the Center for Public Integrity has reported. But now civil rights groups are vowing to go to court to challenge Trump’s policies as he rolls them out. Rights advocates say they’re developing lists of lawyers to defend individuals’ access to due process, including those seeking asylum from violent countries, as CPI has reported.