News & Politics

Trump Poised to Build Wall and Undo Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration

President-elect Donald Trump is poised to hit the ground running when he takes office in two and a half weeks, and it looks like “the wall” and reversing Obama’s immigration policies are high on the agenda.

Reuters reported Tuesday that Donald Trump’s transition team has requested “documents and analysis” from the Department of Homeland Security to “assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction” on both the northern and southern borders. Even better, they have “asked for copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009,” according to the exclusive report.

The team also asked about the department’s capacity for expanding immigrant detention and about an aerial surveillance program that was scaled back by the Obama administration but remains popular with immigration hardliners. And it asked whether federal workers have altered biographic information kept by the department about immigrants out of concern for their civil liberties.

The requests were made in a Dec. 5 meeting between Trump’s transition team and Department of Homeland Security officials, according to an internal agency memo reviewed by Reuters. The document offers a glimpse into the president-elect’s strategy for securing the U.S. borders and reversing polices put in place by the Obama administration.

According to the email summary obtained by Reuters, Trump’s team asked about an aerial border surveillance program known as Operation Phalanx, which Obama slashed. The program, which once deployed 6,000 airmen under President George W. Bush, was downsized to 1,200 Army National Guard airmen under Obama.

The transition team also asked for copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009, according to the memo summarizing the meeting.

Trump has said he intends to undo Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including a 2012 order to allow children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the country on temporary authorizations that allow them to attend college and work.

The program, known as DACA, collected information including participants’ addresses that could theoretically be used to locate and deport them if the policy is reversed. Another request of the transition team was for information about whether any migrant records have been changed for any reason, including for civil rights or civil liberties concerns, according to the internal memo seen by Reuters.

A Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agency interpreted the request to mean the transition team wanted to make sure that federal workers were not tampering with information to protect DACA recipients and other migrants from deportation.

“This isn’t against immigration,” explained Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu on Fox News Monday. “We want to continue the million legal immigrants that we have a year. This is more than any other nation. And he wants to allow people with guest worker permits to come in here, but all these people who think there’s a revolving door, and all these criminals who have been protected under Barack Obama — those days are done.”