Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements

This article is a non-exhaustive list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to immigration, illegal immigration, and border security.

This article has been split, by year, into sub-articles to better manage the long list of achievements.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security (2017)

There was a large change in the Trump Administration, particularly in the Department of Justice,[1] regarding immigration policy, compared to the Obama Administration.[2] The United States Department of Homeland Security under John F. Kelly, who served during the first six months of Trump's presidency, made numerous accomplishments in advancing President Trump's conservative immigration policies.[3] It was reported early in Trump's presidency that immigration hardliners had become influential in the Trump Administration.[4] Illegal immigration enforcement statistics showed the Trump Administration's commitment to keeping its campaign promises,[5] and the administration took steps to reduce immigration levels and crack down on illegal immigration.[6] The Trump Administration established the Remain in Mexico policy and also took steps to begin the process of building a wall on the border with Mexico, although Congress did not pass any funding so the administration could build any new sections of wall in 2017.[7]

According to a September 2017 reported by the DHS's Office of Immigration Statistics, illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico was harder than it had ever been in decades, at least, and smuggling costs doubled from the late 2000s.[8] The Trump Administration drastically changed the Obama Administration's refugee policies, reducing refugee admission levels and ending the previous administration's focus on Muslim refugees.[9] It also increased scrutiny of visa applications.[10] The Trump Administration made several actions to help stop illegal child border crossers.[11] The administration's national security strategy took a strong stance on immigration, border security, and national sovereignty, calling for the construction of a border wall and tougher vetting, among other policies.[12]

As a sign of President Trump immigration successes, the mainstream media and the establishment opposed Trump's immigration policies,[13] and the media, particularly outlets connected to left-wing donor George Soros, showed panic in its reporting due to the Trump Administration's enforcement of immigration law.[14] President Trump was winning the battle over immigration policy, as seen by the media's treatment of the topic.[15]

Among President Trump's 2017 immigration policy achievements:

  • Enacting the travel ban, which the Supreme Court upheld the following year.
  • Leaving the Global Compact on Migration.
  • Ending the Central American Minors (CAM) Parole Program, along with Temporary Protected Status for several countries.
  • Ending DAPA and announcing the end of DACA.
  • Reducing the refugee admissions cap to 45,000.
  • Enacting stricter immigration policies through numerous DOJ and DHS actions.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security (2018)

Through executive actions, President Trump continued to advance his conservative immigration agenda.[16] He took several of his actions against illegal immigration in April 2018, specifically.[17] Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued advancing conservative immigration policies, such as taking steps to block asylum claims by economic migrants,[18] and his successor, Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker, continued advancing those policies.[19] Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also helped President Trump advance his immigration agenda,[20] and the Department of Defense deployed soldiers to reinforce Border Patrol agents and help secure the southern border.[21]

The Trump Administration took several steps to expand the number of illegals targeted for deportation.[22][23] When faced with an increase in the number of illegal border crossings by unaccompanied minors and family units, President Trump not only took stronger action than Obama, but his administration also treated the children more humanely.[24] Immigration and Customs Enforcement helped combat the opioid crisis by cracking down on illegal opioid importation,[25] and the Trump Administration successfully cracked down on MS-13.[26] In the first two years of Trump's presidency, ICE arrested nearly 300,000 criminal illegal aliens.[27]

The Trump Administration took several actions in 2018 resulting in reduced legal immigration and asylum.[28] The USCIS, in particular, made several reforms to allow it to enforce U.S. immigration law,[29][30] and it increased efforts to denaturalize immigrants who committed fraud to receive citizenship.[31] The administration also pursued a stricter visa policy,[32] resulting in the number of H-1B visa applications for Fiscal Year 2018 to fall for the first time in five years.[33] Additionally, the immigrant population growth rate in the U.S. declined in 2018.[34]

Among President Trump's 2018 immigration policy achievements:

  • Leaving the Global Compact on Refugees and continuing to oppose the Global Compact on Migration.
  • Ending Temporary Protected Status for several countries.
  • Reducing the refugee admissions cap to 30,000.
  • Enacting a "zero tolerance" illegal immigration policy and seeking to end "catch-and-release."
  • Sending National Guard and regular military troops to help secure the border.
  • Cracking down on the number of countries refusing to take back deported nationals.[35]
  • Enacting stricter immigration policies through numerous DOJ and DHS actions.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security (2019)

In 2019, the Trump Administration made much progress advancing conservative immigration policies,[36] including securing border wall funding,[37] and the Defense Department played an important role in securing the border.[38] The DHS increased its presence on the southern border even when migrant apprehensions fell somewhat.[39] The Trump Administration also kept its promise to lower refugee admissions[40] and made major reforms to its refugee admissions program.[41] It also worked to speed up immigration court cases for migrant families,[42] and it increased illegal migrant family deportations by 453%.[43] The administration increased its scrutiny of foreign worker petitions and other visa applications,[44] and it took some steps to enforce laws against visa overstays[45] and the illegal hiring of foreigners over U.S. citizens.[46] The USCIS worked to implement President Trump's agenda,[30][47] and its leader Ken Cuccinelli, a strong conservative appointed in June 2019, actively promoted conservative immigration policies.[48] On November 13, 2019, Cuccinelli was promoted to the DHS's deputy secretary.[49] President Trump also significantly shaped the U.S. immigration courts, expanding its numbers and appointing 43% of its judges by mid-2019.[50] The U.S. Supreme Court also sided with several of President Trump's immigration policies.[51]

Because of the Trump Administration's tough immigration policies, thousands of asylum seekers gave up trying to enter the United States, and illegal immigration levels declined.[52] Because of the lower number of illegal migrants in the country, the farm industry was forced to either raise wages, automate its workforce, or hire legal workers.[53] The number of illegal aliens applying for "voluntary departure" significantly increased.[54]

Among President Trump's 2019 immigration policy achievements:

  • Declaring a national emergency on the southern border and redirecting billions of dollars to border wall construction in addition to border security money appropriated by Congress.
  • Reducing the refugee admissions cap to 18,000 and allowing local communities to reject hosting refugees.
  • Getting Mexico to crack down on illegal immigration to the U.S. and signing major migration agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
  • Implementing the Remain in Mexico program and thus reducing "catch-and-release."
  • Expanding and continuing to support sending U.S. troops to the southern border.
  • Taking various actions to limit asylum and work visas to both legal and illegal immigrants.
  • Taking various actions to crack down on illegal immigration and employment and also making it easier to deport illegal and criminal aliens.
  • Taking various actions to limit federal benefits to migrants.


See: Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security (2020)

President Trump and his administration continued advancing conservative immigration policies in 2020.[55] Among other actions, Customs and Border Protection made combating extra-continental migration a priority for 2020,[56] and it worked to end "catch-and-release."[57] The Labor Department increased its scrutiny of attempts by companies to import foreign labor.[58]


  1. Multiple references:
  2. Multiple references: See also:
  3. Multiple references:
  4. NYT: Immigration Hard-Liners Rising in Trump Administration. Breitbart News. April 24, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  5. Dinan, Stephen; Noble, Andrea (August 9, 2017). Illegal immigration statistics show Trump’s resolve to keep campaign promise. The Washington Times. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
    See also:
  6. Multiple references: The December 23 NYT article was criticized by Tom Cotton:
  7. Moons, Michelle (December 31, 2017). 2017 Year-End Border Wall Update — ‘Build the Wall’. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  8. Multiple references: The Center for Immigration Studies came to the same conclusion after reviewing DHS data: See also:
  9. Dinan, Stephen (September 26, 2017). Trump cuts Obama’s refugee target in half, takes more Christians than Muslims. The Washington Times. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  10. Meckler, Laura (November 19, 2017). Trump Administration Tightens Scrutiny of Skilled Worker Visa Applicants. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
    See also:
  11. Rosenberg, Mica (November 3, 2017). New Trump immigration efforts aim to stop child border crossers. Reuters. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  12. Multiple references:
  13. Binder, John (July 18, 2017). NYT Lets Obama, Bush Alums Grieve Illegal Immigration Crackdown. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
    See also – The Intercept, a liberal news source, on President Trump and his immigration policies:
  14. Binder, John (July 8, 2017). Soros-Funded Media Panics over Immigration Enforcement. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  15. Multiple references:
  16. Multiple references: See also:
  17. Multiple references:
  18. Multiple references: See also: The DOJ also hired dozens of additional immigration judges:
  19. Multiple references: See also:
  20. Binder, John (March 30, 2018). Wilbur Ross Keeps Winning for Trump’s Economic Nationalist Agenda. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  21. Multiple references: Some of the results of the deployment: See also:
  22. Meckler, Laura (May 17, 2018). Wider Net Cast in Illegal-Immigration Cases. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  23. Kirkwood, R. Cort (November 9, 2018). Deportation Orders Hit Record High, Immigration Courts Clogged. The New American. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  24. Multiple references: See also:
  25. Piccolo, Jason (November 30, 2018). Under fire from liberals and Hollywood, ICE is busy fighting the opioid crisis. Washington Examiner. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  26. Multiple references:
  27. Binder, John (February 5, 2019). Fact Check: Yes, Nearly 300K Criminal Illegal Aliens Arrested Over Two Years. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
    See also:
  28. Multiple references: The Trump Administration received some help from the Mexican government in this area: See also:
  29. Multiple references: Specifically regarding USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna:
  30. 30.0 30.1 Multiple references: See also:
  31. Multiple references:
  32. Multiple references: See also:
  33. Jan, Tracy (March 21, 2018). The wall does not exist yet, but Trump has already erected new barriers for foreign workers. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
    See also:
  34. Tavernise, Sabrina (September 26, 2019). Immigrant Population Growth in the U.S. Slows to a Trickle. The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  35. Dinan, Stephen (January 2, 2019). Trump makes 'historic progress' in crackdown on deportation deadbeats. The Washington Times. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  36. Multiple references: See also:
  37. Multiple references: Many Hispanics supported the border wall:
  38. Multiple references: Other Defense Department involvement in policies related to immigration:
  39. Giaritelli, Anna (July 9, 2019). DHS continues surging personnel to border despite big decline in illegal crossings. Washington Examiner. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
    See also:
  40. Bedard, Paul (March 28, 2019). Trump keeps promise to cut refugees, down 73 percent since Obama, lowest in 4 decades. Washington Examiner. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
    See also:
  41. Rush, Nayla (April 1, 2019). The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program under the Trump Administration. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  42. Taxin, Amy (August 3, 2019). Trump administration pushes to speed up migrant family cases. Associated Press. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  43. Binder, John (October 9, 2019). Trump Surges Deportations of Illegal Aliens by 453 Percent in Recent Months. Breitbart News. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  44. Multiple references: See also:
  45. Multiple references: See also:
  46. Multiple references: See also:
  47. Anderson, Stuart (October 21, 2019). Ken Cuccinelli, U.S. Immigration Services Chief, Boasts Of Increasing Bureaucracy. Forbes. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  48. Multiple references: Cuccinelli's appointment on June 10, 2019: See also:
  49. Multiple references:
  50. Taxin, Amy (July 23, 2019). Trump puts his stamp on nation’s immigration courts. Associated Press. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
    See also:
  51. Rodrigo, Chris Mills (September 14, 2019). Supreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration. The Hill. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  52. Multiple references: See also:
  53. Multiple references: See also:
  54. Multiple references: Other examples of the Trump Effect:
  55. Multiple references:
  56. Bensman, Todd (January 4, 2020). In Case You Missed It, CBP Chief Confirmed 'Extra-Continental' Migration as a 2020 Priority. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  57. Munro, Neil (January 14, 2020). Customs and Border Protection Chief: ‘We Have All But Ended Catch and Release’. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  58. North, David (January 7, 2020). DoL's Debarments Lists of Bad H-2A and H-2B Employers Get Longer. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved January 12, 2020.