Donald Trump has been very persistent in trying to secure the border and enforce the immigration laws in the interior of the country, but he has encountered unrelenting resistance.


Prosecuted a record-breaking number of immigration-related criminal cases

In fiscal 2019, Trump prosecuted the highest number of immigration-related criminal offenses since record keeping began more than 25 years ago.
2. Travel Ban

When Trump was campaigning for the presidency, the DHS official in charge of vetting Syrian and other foreign Muslim refugees told the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration that no police or intelligence databases existed to check the backgrounds of refugees from those countries.

When Trump became the president, he issued a travel ban executive order to suspend the entry of people from seven countries that the Obama administration had designated as countries of concern.

The reason given for the suspension was to keep individuals from those countries out until the administration could determine what screening and vetting procedures are needed to ensure that the admission of individuals from such countries will not pose a security risk.

The courts created a “Trump exception” to settled law on presidential powers to be able to block the travel ban, finding, primarily on the basis of Trump's campaign statements, that it discriminated against the Muslim religion.

However, the Supreme Court held that the travel ban was a lawful exercise of the broad discretion granted the president by section 212(f) of Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

3. Application of immigration law to all removable aliens

President Barack Obama rejected the statutory deportation grounds in section 237(a) of the INA and created his own list of deportable alien classes. Trump reversed this policy in an executive order in which he declared that the statutory deportation grounds apply to all removable aliens.

4. Border wall

The Democrats prevented Trump from getting the funds he needs for his border security measures, such as a border wall.

Trump declared a national emergency and reallocated funds from military construction projects to build walls at strategic locations along the border.

A federal court issued a temporary injunction to prevent him from using funds appropriated for other purposes to construct a border wall.
However, the Supreme Court lifted that injunction, allowing Trump to continue construction while the lower courts review the merits of the objection to using the funds for that purpose. This indicates that the Court thinks it is likely that Trump will prevail on the merits of the suit.

5. Interim Final Rule (IFR)

The IFR makes aliens ineligible for asylum in the United States if they have not sought protection from persecution from the countries they traveled through en route to the United States.

A district court in California issued a preliminary, nationwide injunction blocking the implementation of the IFR while a lawsuit challenging its legality moves forward. The Supreme Court lifted that injunction and permitted Trump to continue with the implementation of the IFR pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

Published originally on The Hill.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1
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