WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump signed two executive orders Wednesday in keeping with campaign promises to boost border security and crack down on immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
The president signed the two orders during a ceremony at the Department of Homeland Security after honoring the department’s newly confirmed secretary, retired Gen. John Kelly.
The executive orders jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall, one of his signature campaign promises, and strip federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which don’t arrest or detain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
“A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets back its borders,” Trump said.
“The Secretary of Homeland Security, working with myself and my staff, will begin immediate construction of a border wall,” he announced.
The president says the order requires other countries to take back their criminals, calls for the hiring of another 5,000 border patrol officers and triples the number of ICE officers. But the question remains: Who will pay for the border wall right now?
“Ultimately, it will come out of what’s happening with Mexico, we’re going to be starting those negotiations relatively soon and we will be, in a form, reimbursed by Mexico,” Trump has previously said.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Mexico’s president is now considering cancelling his upcoming trip to Washington following Wednesday’s announcements.
Trump also took executive action restoring immigration from countries that harbor terrorists and vowed to crack down on sanctuary cities here in the United States.
“We’re going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced. “The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws.”
Reaction has been swift. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a message to those who are worried.
“This executive order is written in a vague fashion and we believe that not only will it be met with legal challenges but it will be met with public resistance all around the country,” he said.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Trump does not have the constitutional authority to punish cities by withdrawing funding in such a fashion.
“The president lacks the constitutional authority to cut off funding to states and cities simply because they have lawfully acted to protect immigrant families,” he said in a statement. “Any attempt to bully local governments into abandoning policies that have proven to keep our cities safe is not only unconstitutional, but threatens the safety of our citizens.”
“I urge President Trump to revoke this Executive Order right away. If he does not, I will do everything in my power to fight it,” he added.
There was a rally in Washington Square Park Wednesday night to protests the president’s most recent executive orders.
Later in the week, Trump is expected to sign another executive order blocking Syrian refugees from entering the country, along with people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. No exact details have been released. But during the campaign he called it “extreme vetting.”
Trump had backed off his original campaign proposal, calling for a temporary but complete ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S.
Trump also doubled down Wednesday morning on his belief that millions of people may have voted illegally in the presidential election, saying he will order a “major investigation into voter fraud.”
The president tweeted early Wednesday that the measures will affect “those registered to vote in two states” and “those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”
“Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures,” he said.
The president cited no evidence to prompt the investigation, CBS News reported.
He told Congressional leaders he would have won the popular vote if not for three to five million illegals votes for Hillary Clinton. Democrats dispute the claim and said they’ll launch their own investigation.
Trump repeatedly made disputable claims of a rigged voting system before the election, but now in the White House, he continues to raise concern over fraud.
At a White House briefing Tuesday with reporters, press secretary Sean Spicer said the president “continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”
Spicer could not provide further information on what evidence Trump has to support that belief, according to CBS News.
“As I said, I think the president has believed that for a while, based on studies and information he has,” he said.
The association that represents state officials who run elections told CBS News, “We are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump.”
Democrats and Republicans alike have also challenged the president’s claims.
“It is the most inappropriate thing for the President to say without proof,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said.
Trump also tweeted that he will be making his Supreme Court pick next Thursday to fill the vacancy left by the death of conservation Justice Antonin Scalia.
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