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President Donald Trump has signed orders to step up immigration enforcement and secure the US border, beginning with building a border wall with Mexico he promised during the campaign. Jurisdictions that harbor illegal immigrants may lose federal funding.
The first executive order will order the building of “a large physical barrier on the southern border,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday. It will also provide the Department of Homeland Security agents “tools and resources to stop illegal immigration from entering the US.”
The second order aims to empower Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and “strip federal grant money from sanctuary cities and states that harbor illegal immigrants,” according to Spicer.
Federal agencies will “unapologetically enforce the law, no ifs ands or buts,” said the White House spokesman.
Construction on the border wall will begin “as soon as we can physically do it,” Trump told ABC News in an exclusive interview.
Actions envisioned under the orders include hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, according to congressional aides who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Wednesday’s orders do not address refugee admissions or visa policy, as media previously reported citing unnamed insider sources. Such measures may be implemented later in the week, Spicer said.
Among the rumored actions would be a 30-day temporary ban on all refugees entering the US, capping the total number of refugees accepted in 2017 at 50,000, and suspending the issuance of visas to citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.