Planning for a border wall to halt the flood of illegal aliens, including potential terrorists, entering the United States from Mexico begins immediately.
And construction in only months.
This is following President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday that instructed federal managers to “immediately take the following steps to obtain complete operational control … of the southern border.”
“In accordance with existing law, including the Secure Fence Act and IIRIRA, take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border,” the order says.
The wall is among other immigration plans announced Wednesday by Trump, including the hiring of more federal law enforcement officers and penalties for cities that refuse to enforce immigration laws.
The border wall order said federal officials must “identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources of federal funds for the planning, designing, and constructing of a physical wall along the southern border” and “project and develop long-term funding requirements for the wall, including preparing congressional budget requests for the current and upcoming fiscal years.”
Also required in the order is the construction or allocation of “facilities to detain aliens at or near the land border with Mexico.”
And, yes, Mexico eventually will reimburse the United States for the expense, Trump confirmed.
In an interview with ABC News, Trump said the funds “ultimately … will come out of what’s happening with Mexico … and we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico, which I’ve always said.”
Trump said U.S. tax dollars will get the work rolling.
“All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico,” he said. “I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. What I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico. We want to have a very stable, very solid Mexico.”
At an address to federal law enforcement shortly after he signed the orders, Trump said, “Beginning today, the United States of America gets back its borders.”
He said the new emphasis on enforcing the nation’s laws will have multiple benefits, including saving lives on both sides of the border. In attendance at his speech were several family members of victims of illegal aliens.
The plan also will keep American weapons and cash from flowing into Mexico. During the Barack Obama administration, federal officials famously allowed ran a failed sting operation in which hundreds of weapons were released to unqualified purchasers who then fed them through a pipeline to drug cartels in Mexico.
The wall will also help Mexico by deterring illegal immigration from Central America, Trump said.
Trump cited the already existing authority from the Secure Fence Act of 2006 as well as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
His order began: “Aliens who illegally enter the United States without inspection or admission present a significant threat to national security and public safety. Such aliens have not been identified or inspected by federal immigration officers to determine their admissibility to the United States. The recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico has placed a significant strain on federal resources and overwhelmed agencies charged with border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the local communities into which many of the aliens are placed.
“Transnational criminal organizations operate sophisticated drug- and human-trafficking networks and smuggling operations on both sides of the southern border, contributing to a significant increase in violent crime and United States deaths from dangerous drugs. Among those who illegally enter are those who seek to harm Americans through acts of terror or criminal conduct. Continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States.
“The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to deploy all lawful means to secure the nation’s southern border, to prevent further illegal immigration into the United States, and to repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently, and humanely.”
The Wall Street Journal reported a former Mexican foreign minister reacted angrily to Trump’s order.
“This is an insult to those Mexican officials, to the president of Mexico and to all Mexicans,” said Jorge Castaneda, a former foreign minister. “It’s a way of making them negotiate under threat, under insults, and it should lead (Mexican) President (Enrique) Peña Nieto to cancel his trip next week.”
Mexican officials are scheduled to meet with Trump Jan. 31.
They have repeatedly expressed outrage over Trump’s dedication to following the law and clamping down on illegal aliens coming into the U.S. from Mexico, as he exhibited throughout his presidential campaign.
Trump also announced plans to end sanctuary cities by penalizing those who adopt that political position, toughen enforcement by ICE, hire 5,000 more Border Patrol officers and expand detention centers for those caught sneaking across the border.
He also ordered an end to “catch-and-release,” which means those who are caught almost certainly will end up in those detention centers. And he is seeking a tripling of the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Under the last year of Obama’s administration, U.S. Customers and Border Protection agents caught nearly 409,000 crossing the southwest border without permission.
Key will be plans by the Department of Homeland Security to withhold federal grants, except funds “deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes,” if cities or states claim “sanctuary” status and refuse to cooperate with federal authorities on cases involving illegal aliens.
Also being created in an office to help victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens.