Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security (2019)

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security

This article is a list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to immigration, illegal immigration, and border security in 2019.

By early 2019, the Trump Administration had made much progress securing border wall funding.[1] It also increased its scrutiny of foreign worker petitions,[2] and it took some steps to enforce laws against the illegal hiring of foreigners over U.S. citizens.[3] Because of the Trump Administration's tough immigration policies, thousands of asylum seekers gave up trying to enter the United States.[4] Because of the lower number of illegal migrants in the country, the farm industry was forced to either automate its workforce or with legal workers.[5]

Legislation signed, 2019

  • February 15, 2019—Despite its numerous negative provisions, the border bill President Trump signed[6] still included some positive provisions, including money for border security and border barrier construction, and it did not include some of the more extreme Democrat proposals.[7][8]

Executive actions, 2019

President Trump visits the U.S. southern border, January 2019

Legal immigration and asylum

The Trump Administration took several actions related to legal immigration:

  • January 18, 2019—The DHS suspended for one year the H-2A and H-2B programs for the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, and the Philippines since a large number of migrants with those visas overstayed in the U.S.[9]
  • January 30, 2019—The DHS finalized a rule that would prioritize H-1B visas to immigrants with master's degrees or higher from a U.S. school.[10]
  • February 15, 2019—The USCIS released new rules to scrutinize applications involving child marriage to help prevent men with child brides from entering the country.[11]
  • March 12, 2019—The USCIS announced its intention, in an internal memo, to close all of its international immigration offices in order to save money and consolidate services with the State Department.[12]

Illegal immigration

The Trump Administration took several actions related to illegal immigration enforcement:

  • ICE continued cracking down on illegal immigration. For example, in January 2019, it arrested 118 illegal aliens in a five-day operation in New York.[13] Also in January, the DHS revealed it had charged eight people for helping foreigners stay in the U.S. illegally, along with several dozens of illegal "students," through a fake university – while starting in 2015, the DHS's efforts on this program "intensified" shortly after President Trump took office.[14] On January 31, 2019, the DOJ announced it had arrested three people and charged nineteen of running "birth tourism" companies that transported Chinese women to the U.S. in time to give birth and give their children U.S. citizenship.[15] This was the first time the federal government charged anyone of this criminal practice.[15] In another notable incident in February 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. would not allow an Alabama woman who joined the Islamic State to return, stating she was not a U.S. citizen.[16] On March 12, 2019, ICE arrested five Americans who used fake Chinese passports to help foreign students illegally obtain student visas.[17]
    • The Trump Administration continued increasing its enforcement of workplace immigration laws.[18]
  • January 25, 2019—The Trump Administration implemented a policy of returning asylum seekers at the San Ysidro port of entry back to Mexico as their asylum claims underwent review, something done to help end the policy of "catch-and-release."[19] On February 13, 2019, the administration began returning migrant family units to Mexico.[20] On March 12, 2019, the DHS expanded the policy to the Calexico port of entry and the Border Patrol's San Diego sector.[21]
  • January 31, 2019—The Trump Administration enacted visa sanctions on Ghana because it refused to take back its citizens when the U.S. tried to deport them.[22]
  • February 7, 2019—President Trump signed a proclamation extending a previous order signed in November 2018 that banned migrants illegally entering the U.S. from applying for asylum.[23]
  • March 15, 2019—President Trump signed an executive order that updated a 2011 order signed by President Obama, strengthening the definition of a "significant transnational criminal organization" so that the Trump Administration could better counter Mexican cartels and other similar organizations.[24]

Border security

The Trump Administration continued strengthening and expanding border security on the southern border:

  • January 14, 2019—The Defense Department announced it had extended the deployment of troops to the U.S. southern border through September 2019.[25] On January 29, 2019, the Pentagon announced it would send several thousand more troops to the border,[26] and on February 3, 2019, it announced it would specifically send 3,750 additional troops in that deployment.[27] On February 22, 2019, the administration announced it would send an additional 1,000 troops to the border.[28]
  • The Trump Administration continued strengthening the border with Mexico by building physical barriers.[1][29] For example, it moved forward to build a total of 33 miles of border wall in Texas,[30] and in February 2019, the DHS waived several environmental laws to allow it to build several miles of wall in San Diego,[31] and construction began later that month.[32]
  • February 15, 2019—President Trump redirected $8 billion in appropriated funds to pay for wall construction on the southern border – of which about $3 billion was obtained by declaring a national emergency – after Congress failed to appropriate the necessary funds.[33] On March 15, 2019, President Trump vetoed a congressional resolution to overturn the national emergency declaration, the first veto of his presidency.[34]

Other achievements, 2019

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • January 8, 2019—President Trump used his first televised Oval Office address to advocate for stronger border security laws.[35]
  • February 5, 2019—In his State of the Union Address, President Trump took a strong stance on border security, advocating for a border wall, describing tolerance of illegal immigration as "cruel," and criticizing anti-border wall elites who have walls surrounding their houses, among other statements,[36] though he also worried conservatives by advocating for higher legal immigration levels both during and in the months following the speech.[37]
  • Mexico reportedly took greater action in early 2019, compared to previous years, to stop the flow of illegals into the U.S.[38]
  • President Trump's "Hire American" policy made it harder for businesses to outsource technology jobs.[39]
  • Among other strong statements on immigration made in 2019,[40] President Trump labeled Democrats "border deniers" for their pro-open borders policies.[41]

Failures, 2019

Many of these failures and setbacks to the MAGA agenda, if not all of them, were caused by Congress or officials in the Trump Administration, rather than President Trump himself:

  • February 15, 2019—President Trump signed a government funding bill into law that contained a compromise between congressional Democrats and Republicans on border security.[6] Among the bill's other negative provisions,[42][43][44] including restrictions on ICE's immigration enforcement duties,[45][8] it banned ICE from deporting illegal aliens who claim to be relatives of unaccompanied alien children.[46][47][48] It also expanded "catch-and-release" by reducing the number of detention beds and expanding "Alternatives to Detention" programs.[47][48][49][50] The bill expanded other protections and benefits for illegals.[51] It likely doubled the number of H-2B visas,[44][48][52] and it renewed the EB-5 visa.[53] The bill only allowed construction of 55 miles of wall in certain portions of the Rio Grande Valley sector, and even there, several restrictions were placed on where to build.[43][47][49] For example, left-wing border county officials were given veto power over wall construction in their respective counties.[48][54] The bill also provided fewer miles of border wall than Democrats originally agreed to,[48][55] and it spent forty times more on foreign aid than on the border wall.[56] President Trump expressed disappointment in the bill despite ultimately signing it.[57]
  • The DHS caved to a federal judge and extended "Temporary Protected Status" for migrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua after it originally announced it would end TPS for those countries.[58] Additionally, while some "sanctuary" cities changed their policies upon the Trump Administration's threats to withhold law enforcement grants, the administration continued giving money to many such cities without any policy change because of unfavorable court rulings.[59][60] Other open borders policies continued partly because of strong opposition to President Trump, including from Congress.[60] U.S. immigration authorities continued experiencing trouble deporting foreigners.[61]
  • March 2019—The Trump Administration expanded "catch-and-release" in the Rio Grande Valley, implementing a policy of freeing illegals into the interior without even sending them to temporary detention or putting tracking devices on their ankles.[62]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Multiple references:
  2. Multiple references: See also:
  3. Binder, John (February 26, 2019). DOJ Fines Virginia Firm for Hiring Foreigners over Qualified Americans. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  4. Multiple references:
  5. Multiple references: See also:
  6. 6.0 6.1 Multiple references:
  7. Multiple references:
  8. 8.0 8.1 Lott, Maxim (February 15, 2019). DHS official: Border security bill does not contain ‘amnesty’ poison pills. Fox News. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  9. Multiple references: Despite this, numerous countries with high overstay rates remained in the visa programs, and the total number of countries in the program remained significantly higher than in 2008:
  10. Multiple references: Critical conservative perspectives of the change:
  11. Multiple references:
  12. Multiple references: See also:
  13. Multiple references: See also:
  14. Multiple references: ICE continued making arrests and had arrested over 160 "students" at this fake university by March 2019:
  15. 15.0 15.1 Multiple references:
  16. Multiple references: See also:
  17. Multiple references:
  18. Srikrishnan, Maya (February 27, 2019). The Government Has Massively Ramped Up Workplace Immigration Enforcement. Voice of San Diego. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  19. Multiple references: Despite this, Mexico publicly opposed this policy and stated it would not accept returning every asylum seeker: The first migrants were returned to Mexico on January 29, 2019: See also: The policy's impact through March 2019:
  20. Multiple references:
  21. Multiple references:
  22. Multiple references:
  23. Multiple references:
  24. Multiple references:
  25. Multiple references: See also:
  26. Multiple references: Surveillance was added to the soldiers' mission: See also:
  27. Multiple references: See also:
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Multiple references: See also:
  30. Multiple references:
  31. Multiple references:
  32. Multiple references:
  33. Multiple references: More on the national security law: President Trump honored Angel Moms when he announced the national security declaration: Regarding the existence of a national emergency: Criticism by conservatives for not going far enough: See also:
  34. Multiple references: See also:
  35. Multiple references: Speech transcript: More on the speech's contents: See also:
  36. Multiple references:
  37. Multiple references: President Trump made similar comments the following day: Later comments: See also:
  38. Multiple references: Other Central American countries took steps to help the Trump Administration: However, See also:
  39. Binder, John (February 25, 2019). Trump’s ‘Hire American’ Policy Slows Outsourcing of U.S. Tech Jobs. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  40. Multiple references: See also:
  41. Multiple references:
  42. Multiple references: See also:
  43. 43.0 43.1 Krikorian, Mark (February 14, 2019). Immigration Landmines in the Funding Bill. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
    See also:
  44. 44.0 44.1 Munro, Neil (February 14, 2019). GOP Legislators Grab More Cheap Labor, Give Democrats Policy Wins on Border Security. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  45. Multiple references: See also:
  46. Multiple references: See also:
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Vaughan, Jessica M. (February 15, 2019). The Spending Bill Won't Solve the Border Crisis — It Will Make It Worse. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 48.4 Horowitz, Daniel (February 14, 2019). 5 insane provisions in the amnesty omnibus bill. Conservative Review. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  49. 49.0 49.1 Binder, John (February 11, 2019). GOP/Dem Border Deal: $1.3B for Wall, No Increase in Detention Space. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  50. Multiple references: See also:
  51. Munro, Neil (February 14, 2019). Border Security Bill Provides Aid, Buses, Legal Shields to Migrants. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  52. Huennekens, Preston (February 14, 2019). The Spending Bill Potentially Doubles the Number of H-2B Workers. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  53. North, David (February 15, 2019). The Fine Print in the Spending Bill: EB-5 Is Renewed, VAWA Is Not. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  54. Multiple references:
  55. Binder, John (February 13, 2019). GOP/Dems $1.3B Offer for Wall Mimics Past Restrictions on Border, Provides Less Funds. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  56. Binder, John (February 14, 2019). GOP/Dem Deal Spends 40X as Much on Foreign Countries as Border Wall. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
    See also:
  57. Multiple references: See also:
  58. Multiple references: The DHS also extended TPS for South Sudan:
  59. Multiple references:
  60. 60.0 60.1 Multiple references: See also:
  61. Multiple references:
  62. Multiple references: