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Trump’s immigration executive orders: what we know

Shutting out refugees; halting visas from several Muslim-majority countries; and starting on the wall.

(Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive orders building up security on the US/Mexico border — including directing money to start building his famous wall — and increasing immigration enforcement within the interior.

The following link explains the Wednesday executive orders:

Later this week, he’s expected to sign an order imiting legal immigration to the US for refugees fleeing persecution and visa-holders from several majority-Muslim countries.

Details about the forthcoming executive orders are still unconfirmed. But here’s what we can say with high confidence.

Suspending refugee admissions: Sometime this week — likely Thursday or Friday — Trump is expected to sign an order suspending refugee admissions to the US for a certain period of time (possibly for four months). This is something the president has broad authority to do (President George W. Bush suspended refugee admissions for three months after 9/11) but that would severely disrupt the lives of thousands of refugees in the midst of a global refugee crisis. The executive order might make an exception for “religious minorities” who are persecuted in their home countries — presumably intended for Christians in the Middle East.

Suspending visas from seven majority-Muslim countries: Trump is also expected to sign an executive order stopping people from several countries from entering the US on visas. The list of countries reportedly includes Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and, Yemen — all majority-Muslim countries. These countries don’t account for a large portion of entries to the US, though they do account for a larger portion of refugee admissions. The visa suspension might last 30 days. While it’s possible that a ban that targeted only majority-Muslim countries could face a court challenge, current US law and court cases give the president broad authority to restrict immigration from particular countries.

There may be other executive orders related to immigration that are also signed this week. President Trump ran on cracking down on immigration — both at the border and from refugees and Muslim immigrants — and it appears that he is making it a priority for his first week in office.


Watch: The racist history of US immigration policy