On January 25, 2017 Donald Trump issued two immigration-related executive orders and, according to multiple news reports, prepared to issue two others on January 26.

These executive orders may go a long way to assuage the concerns of his white nationalist and other anti-immigrant supporters that the new president was failing to carry out his promised assaults on Mexican, Muslim and other non-European immigrants by waiting for a few days (!) after his inauguration to take action against them. See:


But the two orders that were signed on January 25 and the two that are projected for signature on January 26, together with Trump's threat to put Chicago, whose mayor is a leading figure in the Sanctuary City movement, under martial law, should be greatly reassuring to those of his supporters and advisers who would like to see America turn back almost a century to the time of the 1924 Immigration Act racial/religious "national origin" immigration quotas which favored "Nordic" Protestant countries from Western Europe, while excluding most Catholic immigrants from Southern Europe, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and non-white immigrants from most of the rest of the world.

However, Trump's immigration executive orders will be greeted with considerably less enthusiasm by those who believe that America's strength lies in its diversity, that America was founded on the principle of the dignity of each human being, regardless of race, creed or color, and that our immigration system should be determined by democratic procedures, rather than by the diktat of a single ruler.

Let us first look at Trump's order regarding giving priority to "criminal aliens" for deportation. During the transition period Trump promised to single out only the "bad hombres" - unauthorized immigrants who had committed serious crimes - for immediate removal.

At that time, I warned that, based on the recommendation of anti-immigrant zealot Kris Kobach, who was responsible for drafting numerous state immigrant persecution and minority voter suppression laws that were in large part thrown out by the courts, Trump might extend the definition of "criminal alien" for this purpose to include not just immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, under our principle of law that a person is innocent until proven guilty, but immigrants who have been charged with a crime but not convicted.

See my November 24, 2016 ilw.com comment:

Likely New DHS Chief Wants to Abolish Presumption of Innocence So He Can Deport Criminal Aliens Who Have Not Been Found Guilty

(Sorry - I do not have a link - please go to Google.)

However in reality, Trump not only appears to have adopted this proposal by his Eminence Grise, Kobach (who fortunately was not finally picked to be DHS chief but whose influence over Trump's immigration policies may be no less powerful behind the scenes), but to have gone beyond that.

POLITICO reports on January 25 that one of Trump's executive orders signed that day gives "enforcement priority", not only to unauthorized immigrants who have been charged with a crime, though not convicted, but who "have committed acts that constitute a chargeable offence" even if not charged with a crime, who have engaged in some other immigration violations that are usually treated as civil, not criminal matters, and who, in the apparently unlimited discretion of an immigration officer. "pose a risk to public safety and national security".


In other words, potentially many millions of people who are in the US without legal status, not just those who have been adjudged to be criminals under our laws, will be "prioritized" for deportation.

America will need to build a very large network of private immigration detention prisons, similar to Vladimir Putin's target of 83 such gulags in Russia for that country's immigrants, in order to incarcerate everyone who could be at risk of being rounded up and detained for years while awaiting a removal hearing under this kind of of "prioritization".

See the following August, 2013 Moscow Times report:


I will have more to say about Donald Trump's immigration executive orders in my next comment.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law