In his first week in office, President Trump signed a flurry of immigration-related executive orders.
The “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” executive order primarily concerns the building of a wall along the U.S. Mexico border. Republican congressional leaders have said they will move forward with plans to approve funds for the wall, which they estimate will cost between $12 and $15 billion.
The “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” executive order pertains to interior enforcement, including reversing the enforcement priorities that had been put into place under the Obama Administration, such as making agriculture a low priority for immigration enforcement. This order also calls for prioritizing the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have, among other things, been “convicted of any criminal offense,” “have been charged with any criminal offense,” “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” or “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter.” The order also gives significant latitude to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in making such determinations.
Additionally, the interior enforcement order calls on the Department of Homeland Security to hire 10,000 additional ICE officers and empowers state and local law enforcement agencies to perform the functions of immigration enforcement.
We expect President Trump to sign more immigration-related executive orders in the near future, including one affecting foreign visa programs, including the H-2A program. Another order is expected to allow recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) authorization to remain in their current status, but disallow further DACA renewals.
Western Growers will continue to monitor how these orders are being implemented and inform members of any potential impacts to the industry.