According to NPR (and just about every single major news outlet), Pres. Trump is set to announce a set of executive actions aimed at immigration today. An executive action is an order from the President that does not require Congressional approval or legislation. The first, as previously noted here, directs governmental agencies to prepare for construction of a border wall. This order also calls for hiring more border patrol agents, increasing the square footage of deportation centers, and enforcing deportation for violent offenders apprehended at the border. The second order concerns sanctuary cities. President Trump took aim at sanctuary cities while on the campaign trail. He is expected to cut federal funding from Dept of Justice and Homeland Security to sanctuary cities. It's somewhat of a PR move, because sanctuary cities receive funding from many agencies including Education and Defense. In addition, the administration will ask sanctuary cities to share fingerprint and other biometric data with federal agencies (a program that Pres. Obama stopped in 2014). Lastly, ICE agents will have more authority and leeway to aggressively find, detain, and deport undocumented persons.
Our Verdict: A wall along the entire border would be so expensive and difficult that we doubt the final barrier will come close to reaching 2,000 miles. Instead, we expect walls and fences will be built along different sections of the border to reinforce existing natural barriers or at "chokepoints" (high-traffic crossing areas). The sanctuary cities move, as noted in this blog earlier, will also set up a fight between democratic mayors of major US cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. They have all started to raise money to fund legal defense for immigrants caught up in potential deportation hearings. Given the political and economic clout of these mayors, this fight may be Trump's toughest immigration test, given the Republican-held Congress.