Trump’s Executive Actions Today Demonstrate He Will Follow Through on His Unlawful and Draconian Immigration Policies

President Trump today signed executive orders directing the federal government to fund construction of a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico and to freeze funding to sanctuary cities.

These orders send a clear and disappointing signal that the Trump Administration will seek to enact unlawful, draconian immigration policies.  The ACLU will continue to fight these efforts every step of the way.

Militarizing the border

The expansion in the size and power of border security forces will only serve to further erode the rights of tens of millions of people who call those border communities their home. This is not rational national security policy. President Trump’s fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is based fundamentally on racial and ethnic bias.

This is a piece of dangerous political theater that will undermine civil liberties and turn border communities into military zones where heavily armed, poorly trained, and unaccountable agents will wield dangerous influence and authority. The president’s order to accelerate deportation of undocumented immigrants includes a prioritization of individuals with “chargeable criminal offenses,” meaning that even lawful longtime permanent residents who have been alleged by ICE to have committed a minor misdemeanor could be prioritized for deportation depending on how the Secretary of Homeland Security chooses to interpret the statute.

The Department of Homeland Security deportation force has a clear track record of racial profiling and using excessive force in abusing detainees. Just as we’ve always done, we will take these matters to court if and when the president’s policies lead to mass violations of civil liberties and the further erosion of the rights of millions of people.

Punishing sanctuary cities

Across the country, cities and states have made their own decisions on how to best ensure public safety in their communities. This includes “sanctuary cities” that decline to spend local resources on draconian and counterproductive immigration enforcement efforts, offering city services without respect to immigration status or English-language ability, protecting the confidential records of undocumented immigrants, or refusing to detain immigrants on behalf of ICE.

This is not rational national security policy. President Trump’s fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is based fundamentally on racial and ethnic bias.

President Trump does not have the legal authority to unilaterally defund cities and states that protect people’s rights and stay clear of the deportation business. While he may be counting on cities to buckle under the pressure of his bully pulpit, cities and local law enforcement officials have already begun preparing to defend their lawful policies.

We will support cities and states in suing the federal government should they attempt to enforce President Trump’s executive order. Any attempt from the federal government to commandeer state and local governments into carrying out federal policies will violate the 10th Amendment, and attempts to coerce local entities into action by withholding funds violates the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The law is clear on this, and President Trump is out of line.

Sanctuary cities represent the best this country has to offer: a spirit of inclusiveness and respect for individual rights. These are the principles that we will continue to fight for against all who try to root it out. 

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If president donald j. trump wants to show an example, I would suggest that the American Wall be built using ONLY materials made in America; labor in any form from ditch digging to paper shuffling; from planning to construction and enforcement be performed ONLY by Americans born in the United States; and any firms contracted to provide services MUST be owned by Americans. Good luck on that - Got to set the bar high.


How about we open the door for you, so that you can take your sorry ass to another country? If you don't like the United States remember " all enemies foreign and domestic" and we don't care if you were born here. Now, don't like supporting Americans because this isn't about racism, its about the ability of a country to support its own. The idea is ludicrous that we should just let everyone in because its the right thing to do. Get out of your mothers basement and try filing out an application because the job market isn't that great, but we are going to bring more people here who will receive priority of you. Its just crazy because no one thinks about the poor we have in America because it doesn't improve the situation bring my people here. Did anyone pay attention in science when they covered carrying capacities and the ability to support a population?


How does this not violate the constitution? I keep hearing that American democracy is strong but see no evidence that the document that lays out its foundational rules and principles is being enacted. Is it just that parties who act legally need more time to build a case?

Frank Wolkenberg

This refers to today's EO giving priority specifically to Christian refugees from the ME not yet covered here. How does this not violate the Establishment Clause?


I, too, would like to know if there's any way to reign in this frivolous abuse of executive orders. It seems to be increasing with each presidency. Trump, especially, seems hellbent on bypassing checks and balances.

Mike Hunt

Ok, cheato you lost pop vote by around 3 million votes, you have had your fun for the first week, we are all amused by your 'this is the presidency prime time variety show'. steve, kellyanne, sean & co. we get it, you like to entertain the masses, good for you, enjoy the rest of the weekend. Starting this Monday can you attempt to be adults? There are some serious issues ahead of you and our lives are on the line, playtime is over, you made your point. Leaders of Congress, we are holding you accountable for the musings of aforementioned juvenile executive branch, do you really think that the majority citizens of this nation will be silent and allow this travesty continue? WAKE UP.

Ellen Trumpler

We see in Trump an attempt at an "alt-right" takeover of our government. He did talk of defunding Sanctuary Cities before and about a "Muslim ban". While we should not be surprised that Trump is carrying thru on his threats, we need to "push back" against his injustices to save our fragile Democracy. The ACLU is the people's "hero" organization that's really got it right!!


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