Donald Trump achievements: Immigration and border security (2018)

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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 2018.

Through executive actions, President Trump continued to advance his conservative immigration agenda.[1][2] He took several of his actions against illegal immigration in April 2018, specifically.[3] Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued advancing conservative immigration policies, such as taking steps to block asylum claims by economic migrants,[4] and his successor, Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker, continued advancing those policies.[5] Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also helped President Trump advance his immigration agenda.[6]

The Trump Administration took several steps to expand the number of illegals targeted for deportation.[7][8] 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.[9] Immigration and Customs Enforcement helped combat the opioid crisis by cracking down on illegal opioid importation,[10] and the Trump Administration successfully cracked down on MS-13.[11] In the first two years of Trump's presidency, ICE arrested nearly 300,000 criminal illegal aliens.[12]

The Trump Administration took several actions in 2018 resulting in reduced legal immigration and asylum.[13][14] The USCIS, in particular, made several reforms to allow it to enforce U.S. immigration law,[15] and it increased efforts to denaturalize immigrants who committed fraud to receive citizenship.[16] The administration also pursued a stricter visa policy,[17] resulting in the number of H-1B visa applications for Fiscal Year 2018 to fall for the first time in five years.[18]

Legislation signed, 2018

  • January 10, 2017—President Trump signed the Interdict Act into law, which provided $9 million for Customs and Border Protection so it could buy equipment to help it stop the flow of fentanyl and other opioids through the country's borders.[19] Later, on October 24, 2018, President Trump signed the STOP Act into law as part of a major bill to combat the opioids crisis, which improved cooperation between the CBP and the United States Postal Service to crack down on illegal fentanyl imports.[20]
  • March 23, 2018—Despite doing significantly less to advance his conservative immigration agenda than hoped, the omnibus bill that President Trump signed[21] did spend nearly $1.6 billion on border security, including money for building new sections of the border barrier, repairing existing sections, and building secondary fencing.[22]

Executive actions, 2018

Legal immigration and asylum

The Trump Administration took several actions related to legal immigration:

  • January 17, 2018—The DHS announced it would ban people from Haiti, Belize, and Samoa from applying for H-2A and H-2B visas, which temporarily allow foreign workers for agricultural and non-agricultural seasonal work.[23]
  • January 29, 2018—After a 90-day review initiated by an executive order President Trump signed on October 24, 2018, the DHS fully resumed refugee admissions from 11 "high risk" countries but with strengthened vetting procedures.[24]
  • January 31, 2018—The USCIS announced it would change its asylum application policy and review newer applications first in order to reduce a "crisis-level backlog" more quickly and to protect against "fraud and abuse" in the process. In changing the policy, the USCIS reversed an Obama Administration decision to prioritize older applications.[25]
  • February 6, 2018—President Trump signed a memorandum ordering the creation of a National Vetting Center in order to better screen foreigners entering the U.S.[26]
  • The State Department moved to close dozens of refugee resettlement offices throughout the country because of U.S. refugee resettlement program had been shrunk.[27] This came after the department ordered refugee resettlement agencies to close their offices in late 2017.[28]
  • February 2018—The USCIS changed its mission statement to put its priorities in line with President Trump's conservative immigration agenda.[29] Among other changes, it removed the phrase "nation of immigrants" and emphasized lawful immigration and putting American citizens first.[29]
  • February 22, 2018—The USCIS issued a policy memo instituting additional restrictions on H-1B visas to prevent abuse and protect American workers.[30]
  • March 20, 2018—The USCIS announced it would temporarily suspend a program that allows for expedited approvals of H-1B visas, with the expectation that the suspension would last until September 10.[31]
  • March 27, 2018—President Trump announced he would end a Deferred Enforcement Departure program for Liberians, a program protecting them from deportation and which had been in effect since 1999.[32]
  • By May 2018, the Trump Administration had announced it would end the "Temporary Protected Status" program for over 300,000 immigrants, with only 7,000 immigrants from four countries still having no announced end date.[33] In 2018, it announced it would end the program for El Salvador,[34] Nepal,[35] and Honduras.[36]
  • May 11, 2018—The USCIS issued a memorandum establishing stricter rules on visa overstays for student and exchange visas in order to crack down on visa overstays.[37][38]
  • May 25, 2018—The DHS began the process of undoing an Obama-era program intended to attract foreign entrepreneurs – the International Entrepreneur Program – as it did not protect American workers and was an example of executive branch overreach.[39]
  • May 2018—For the first time in many years, the USCIS completed more immigration cases in a month than it took in.[40]
  • June 11, 2018—Attorney General Sessions limited the criteria for gaining automatic asylum status by overruling several Board of Immigration Appeals decisions that expanded the criteria for people because of general hardships rather than simply facing direct and serious persecution.[41] On July 11, 2018, the USCIS issued a guidance memo implementing Sessions's decision, and it went even further than Sessions in limiting the criteria for asylum.[42]
  • The USCIS announced it was creating a new office to track down individuals who lied on their applications in order to receive U.S. citizenship so that the USCIS could lawfully denaturalize them.[43]
  • June 28, 2018—The USCIS updated its guidance policy to expand its power to begin deportation proceedings for people using fake documents or who illegally used government benefits.[15][44]
  • July 3, 2018—The DOJ rescinded two guidance documents related to immigration, one of them giving work protections to refugees and another stating that employers should not implement "citizen only" hiring policies.[45]
  • July 2018—The USCIS created an Office of Investigations to ensure that foreign agents do not penetrate the agency and to guard against employee misconduct.[46]
  • July 13, 2018—The USCIS issued a guidance allowing it to deny incomplete visa applications without needing to issue a Request for Evidence, replacing a 2013 Obama Administration policy.[15][47]
  • July 31, 2018—The DOJ and the Labor Department announced a joint agreement to work together to crack down on companies violating U.S. law by favoring the hiring of foreign workers over U.S. citizens.[48]
  • August 28, 2018—The USCIS announced it would extend and expand its suspension of premium processing for the H-1B visa program, effectively tightening the program.[49]
  • September 17, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it would reduce the refugee cap for Fiscal Year 2019 to 30,000, the lowest cap since the Refugee Act of 1980 was enacted.[50] On October 4, 2018, President Trump signed a memorandum making the decision official.[51]
  • September 22, 2018—The DHS announced it would enact a rule to enforce U.S. law requiring that immigrants to the U.S. must not be an undue burden to the country, with the agency making it harder for legal immigrants to enter the country or stay in it if they use or are expected to use welfare programs.[52]
  • November 13, 2018—The U.S. voted against a UN General Assembly resolution praising the UNHCR and endorsing the Global Compact for Refugees – the latter of which the U.S. announced it would withdraw from – because it conflicted with American "sovereign interests."[53] That resolution had previously been approved by consensus in the 60 years of its existence before the Trump Administration requested a vote on the matter, and the U.S. was the only country to vote against the resolution.[53] On December 17, 2018, the United States voted against the Global Compact on Refugees, being joined only by Hungary.[54]
  • November 30, 2018—The USCIS formally proposed changes to the H-1B visa program to promote merit-based immigration, with the proposal favoring migrant workers with advanced degrees and changing how companies apply for the visas.[55] While some conservatives approved of the changes,[56] other conservatives strongly criticized them.[57]
  • The Trump Administration continued its opposition to the globalist Global Compact on Migration in 2018, voting against it during UN votes on December 10[58] and 19.[59] Additionally, numerous other countries followed the Trump Administration's lead in opposing the migration compact.[60]
  • In 2018, the State Department denied over 37,000 visa applications because of President Trump's travel ban.[61]

Refugee admissions

Refugee admission levels to the U.S. in 2018 remained low. In the first two weeks of 2018, 201 refugees entered the country, the lowest number in over a decade.[62] By early February 2018, the number of refugees entering the U.S. thus far in FY 2018 fell to a 15-year low.[63] The proportion of Muslim refugees also remained low,[64] and by May 2018, Christian refugees outnumbered Muslim refugees 3–1.[65] Refugee organizations in the U.S. saw significantly less revenue and downsized their operations.[66] By March 2018, the number of refugee admissions was on track to achieving a record low number for Fiscal Year 2018, including being on track to reduce admissions 77% compared to the Obama Administration.[67] This trend continued in the following months.[68] By late June 2018, 68% of all refugees admitted to the U.S. were Christian, a 16-year high,[69] and that number reached nearly 71% by September 2018.[70] In Fiscal Year 2018, the number of refugee admissions into the U.S. fell to the lowest level in the 38 years since the Refugee Act of 1980 was signed,[71] and Trump reduced refugee admissions 75% in 2018 compared to the Obama Administration in 2016.[72]

Illegal immigration

President Trump visits the U.S. southern border, March 2018

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

  • ICE continued cracking down on illegal immigration and oversaw several notable crackdowns. On January 10, 2018, ICE arrested 21 illegal immigrants after auditing 98 7-Eleven stores in 17 states, in what was then reported as the largest crackdown on an employer in the Trump era.[73] In late January 2018, ICE audited 77 businesses in northern California, the largest localized raid since the beginning of Trump's presidency.[74] In a week in February 2018, ICE arrested 212 illegals and audited 122 businesses in Los Angeles in order to enforce federal laws banning the hiring of illegals.[75] Later in February, ICE arrested 232 people in a four-day raid in California's Bay Area.[76] In late February 2018, U.S. authorities sentenced an illegal immigrant for paying smugglers to bring a relative into the U.S., described as "one of the first cases" of such a case taken by the government.[77] On April 5, 2018, ICE arrested 97 people at a meat processing plant in Tennessee.[78] Later in April 2018, ICE arrested 225 illegals in a six-day operation in New York.[79] In a five-state operation in the Midwest in May 2018, ICE arrested 78 illegals,[80] and in a six-day operation in the Chicago area later that month, ICE arrested 156 criminal aliens.[81] On June 5, 2018, ICE agents arrested 114 suspected illegal immigrants at a lawn and garden business in Ohio,[82] and later that month it arrested 146 suspected illegals at a large meat supplier in the state in what ICE reported was the largest workplace raid in at least ten years.[83] In June 2018, ICE arrested 91 criminal aliens in a five-day operation in New Jersey.[84] In July 2018, ICE arrested 132 illegals, including a high-ranking MS-13 member, in the Washington, D.C., area.[85] In August 2018, ICE raided several businesses in Nebraska and Minnesota and arrested 147 people, both illegal migrants and business managers, the latter for knowingly hiring the illegals and mistreating them.[86] Later in August, ICE raided a Texas factory and arrested 160 illegals employed there.[87] In September 2018, ICE arrested 98 criminal aliens in North Texas and Oklahoma,[88] and roughly the same time, it arrested 150 in the Los Angeles-area[89] 83 in Wisconsin,[90] and 40 in New England.[91] On December 7, 2018, ICE announced it had arrested 58 illegal aliens, many of them having criminals records, in New England,[92] and it also arrested 105 illegal migrants in New Jersey.[93] In early December 2018, ICE arrested 63 criminal aliens in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.[94]
    • By May 2018, the DHS under President Trump had doubled the number of businesses it had searched for breaking immigration hiring laws, and it had almost quadrupled the number of arrests made.[95] By July 2018, ICE's workplace enforcement had increased even more.[96] In Fiscal Year 2018, ICE workplace enforcement increased significantly from the previous year, with illegal worker arrests increasing 640%.[97] This increased enforcement benefited American workers.[98]
    • By May 2018, the number of illegals arrested who had not broken any other U.S. law had risen compared to the last two years of the Obama Administration.[7][99] In the first nine months of 2018, the number of such illegals arrested increased 66% compared to the previous year.[100]
    • The Trump Administration took steps to reverse the Obama Administration's downplaying of illegal migrant fraud, as illustrated when it announced it had charged over 20 illegals with ID fraud.[101]
    • Notably, the Trump Administration secured the deportation of the last known Nazi collaborator in the U.S., fourteen years after a court ordered the individual to be deported, and amidst stronger lobbying by the Trump Administration for Germany to take him back.[102]
    • Between October 2017 and June 2018, ICE arrests rose 17% and deportations rose 9%.[103] However, the proportion of "community arrests" of illegals, compared to total ICE arrests, was at a lower rate than under the Obama Administration.[104] In August 2018, the Border Patrol launched Operating Blazing Sands to crack down on human smuggling on the border with Mexico.[105] In Fiscal Year 2018, the number of deportation orders rose five percent from the previous year.[8] By late 2018, ICE was holding a record number migrants in detention,[106] and the HHS had a record number of illegal minors in custody.[107] In the first nine months of 2018, migrant deportations by ICE increased 14%, though levels were still lower than Obama Administration numbers, and arrests reached the highest level since 2014.[108] In the last three months of 2018, deportations again had increased but were still lower than under the Obama Administration.[109]
  • January 17, 2018—ICE and 17 Florida sheriffs announced a deal allowing the sheriffs to detain illegal immigrants for 48 hours beyond their release date to give ICE extra time to gain custody of them.[110]
  • March 5, 2018—Attorney General Sessions reversed a 2014 decision created by the Board of Immigration Appeals that had given asylum-seekers the right to a hearing even if their cases had been determined deficient.[111]
  • March 29, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it had ended an Obama-era policy that had required immigration officials to release many pregnant illegal immigrant women from custody, instead making the decision on a case-by-case basis.[112]
  • It was reported in March 2018 that the Trump Administration had "sharply" reduced the number of administrative closures in deportation cases which allow illegals to stay in the U.S.[113]
  • March 30, 2018—The DOJ issued a memo instituting an annual quota of 700 processed cases on immigration judges, which would go into effect on October 1, 2018.[114]
  • April 6, 2018—Attorney General Sessions issued a memo ordering federal prosecutors working near the U.S.–Mexico border to adopt a "zero tolerance policy" toward illegals, prosecuting every case that the DHS refers to the DOJ rather than selectively prosecuting, as well as prosecuting illegals "to the extent practicable."[115] On May 7, 2018, AG Sessions announced that the DOJ, along with the DHS, would implement the "zero tolerance" policy and prosecute every illegal for entering the country,[116] along with prosecuting illegals bringing their children with human smuggling.[117] Due to the large increase in illegal immigrant detainees, the Trump Administration decided to temporarily move 1,600 of them to federal prisons in June 2018.[118] Illegal border crossings fell 18% in June 2018, something which the DHS attributed to the zero-tolerance policy acting as a deterrent.[119]
  • April 6, 2018—President Trump signed a memorandum ordering the government to end the policy of "catch-and-release" when enforcing immigration law.[120]
  • By April 2018, the number of illegals winning deportation cases had fallen back to levels that existed before the Obama Administration's left-wing immigration policies were implemented.[121]
  • April 18, 2018—The Trump Administration, acting under an executive order that President Trump had earlier signed, imposed sanctions on a Syrian organization for attempting to illegally smuggle hundreds of people through the U.S. southern border.[122]
  • May 2, 2018—The DOJ sent 35 assistant U.S. attorneys and 18 immigration judges to the border to help process asylum claims quickly.[123]
  • May 11, 2018—The DOJ and the USCIS jointly announced they would expand their cooperation to enforce laws preventing companies from illegally favoring immigrant workers over Americans.[38][124]
  • May 17, 2018—Attorney General Sessions issued a directive ending the Obama-era practice of "administrative closures", which allowed immigration judges to unilaterally drop immigration cases and let illegals indefinitely remain in the country.[7][125]
  • June 2018—The Trump Administration implemented a policy requiring fingerprinting and immigration checks of parents claiming illegal migrant children apprehended by immigration authorities.[126]
  • June 20, 2018—While President Trump caved to the Left and the mainstream media by signing an executive order to prevent the separation of illegal migrant families while being detained, the order kept the administration's "zero tolerance" enforcement policy in place,[127] and it directed the Justice Department to challenge a 2015 court settlement that required the federal government to release illegal migrants with children.[128] In a court filing on June 29, 2018, the DOJ announced a new policy where it would seek to detain illegal migrant families indefinitely,[129] and on September 6, 2018, the DHS and HHS proposed a rule to allow them to detain illegal migrant families long-term.[130]
  • June 20, 2018—The Department of Defense accepted a DOJ request to send 21 of its attorneys to the southern border to help with illegal immigration cases.[131]
  • July 10, 2018—The Trump Administration enacted visa sanctions on Myanmar and Laos for refusing to accept their citizens being deported from the U.S.[132] By the end of 2018, the Trump Administration had made much progress in reducing the number of countries unwilling to take back deportees from the U.S., with the number of outright uncooperative countries falling from 23 to 9 between 2015 and 2018, and the number of "at-risk" countries falling from 62 to 24.[133]
  • July 2018—The DOJ instructed its U.S. attorneys to use the term "illegal alien" rather than "undocumented" as it is the most accurate term under U.S. immigration law.[134]
  • August 16, 2018—Attorney General Sessions issued an order to speed up the deportation process, requiring immigration judges not to postpone deportation cases unless there is "good cause shown."[135]
  • September 19, 2018—Attorney General Sessions placed new limits on the ability of immigration judges to dismiss deportation cases.[136]
  • November 8–9, 2018—The DOJ and DHS jointly published a rule prohibiting asylum for migrants who illegally crossed the U.S.–Mexico border.[137] The following day, President Trump signed a proclamation putting those new rules into effect.[138] The federal government subsequently moved to "harden" ports of entry, reducing the number of migrants allowed in to make asylum claims.[14]
  • November 19, 2018—The DHS announced it had temporarily shut down the busiest land border crossing along the southern border because of reports the migrant caravan was planning on ramming through that entry point.[139]
  • November 20, 2018—Chief of Staff John F. Kelly signed a memo authorizing U.S. troops on the southern border to perform some law enforcement duties, including lethal force, if necessary to protect Border Patrol agents.[140]
  • November 28, 2018—The DOJ revealed it would send 33 Drug Enforcement Administration agents and 10 U.S. Marshals Service officials to the southern border in California.[141]
  • December 20, 2018—The DHS announced it had reached an agreement with Mexico to return asylum-seekers who illegally crossed the U.S. southern border back to Mexico at least until their claims are processed, something done to help end the practice of "catch-and-release."[142] The Trump Administration began implementing the policy at the San Ysidro port of entry on January 25, 2019,[143] though the Mexican government publicly opposed the policy.[144]

Border security

President Trump visits border wall prototypes along the U.S. southern border, March 2018

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

  • April 4, 2018—President Trump signed an order deploying National Guard soldiers in order to secure the border and assist border patrol agents.[145] The Department of Defense quickly took steps to deploy National Guard troops,[146] and Secretary of Defense James Mattis signed an order on April 6, 2018, to approve funding for up to 4,000 troops.[147] By May 9, 2018, the CBP announced that because of the National Guard troops it had apprehended 1,600 additional illegals and turned back an additional 451.[148] The Pentagon announced on August 31, 2018, that Secretary Mattis had authorized up to 4,000 National Guard troops to remain at the border through September 2019.[149]
  • May 7, 2018—The Interior Department sent its law enforcement officers to help the DHS in securing the southern border with Mexico.[150]
  • October 26, 2018—Defense Secretary Mattis approved a request from the DHS to send an unspecified number of active-duty soldiers to the border with Mexico to help U.S. Border Patrol, something done as a large migrant caravan approached the U.S.[151] On October 29, 2018, the Pentagon announced it would initially deploy about 5,200 troops to the border,[152] and U.S. troops began deployment shortly afterward.[153] The soldiers immediately went to work securing the border and put up several miles of razor wire on existing border barriers.[154] On December 4, 2018, Defense Secretary Mattis approved a DHS request to extend troop employment until January 31, 2019, from the original end date of December 15, 2018.[155]
  • Among other border security improvements,[156] the Trump Administration constructed 20 miles of new and improved fencing in New Mexico.[157] The DHS also constructed 2.25 miles of improved fencing and border infrastructure at Calexico, California,[158] as well as 14 miles in San Diego.[159] The Rio Grande Valley also saw improved border security measures,[160] and the DHS waived environmental regulations in 2018 to expedite the construction of about 17 miles of wall in the area.[161] In September 2018, the CBP began construction of an improved four-mile border barrier in El Paso.[162] The CBP also began preparations for a six-mile border wall construction project in Texas scheduled to begin in February 2019,[163] an eight-mile construction project in Texas scheduled to begin at the same time,[164] and a 32-mile wall replacement project in Arizona to start in April 2019.[165] Despite these measures, some conservatives noted that the fencing used in these construction projects was similar to the fencing used during the Obama Administration.[166]

Miscellaneous

The Trump Administration took several miscellaneous immigration-related actions:

  • February 1, 2018—It was reported that the DOJ had effectively shut down its Office for Access to Justice, which was created in 2010 under Eric Holder and which funded several left-wing open borders organizations.[167]
  • March 26, 2018—The Commerce Department announced it would re-add a question to the U.S. Census asking U.S. residents if they are U.S. citizens.[168]
  • April 2018—The DOJ announced that at the end of the month it would end temporarily end a program that provides legal services to immigrants and illegal immigrants in immigration courts.[169]

Appointments, 2018

  • March 2018—President Trump appointed Andrew Veprek, a White House aide described as having strong pro-American immigration views, as a deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.[170]
  • July 2018—President Trump appointed John Zadrozny, a White House aid opposed to mass migration, to serve on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff where he would influence matters related to the department's migration policies.[171]

Other achievements, 2018

President Trump speaking with Angel Families, June 2018

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:

  • It was reported in April 2018 that compared to Fiscal Year 2016, the number of visas granted to foreign visitors fell by 13%, with significant decreases in both Muslin and non-Muslim countries.[172] The number of H-1B visa applications also fell in 2018, for the second year in a row, though levels were still relatively high.[173] Because of the Trump Administration's visa policies, American businesses made a stronger effort hire to American college graduates rather than foreigners.[17]
  • The number of legal immigrants in the U.S. for less than five years who used SNAP food stamps fell around 10% in 2018, after the number consistently rose for the previous ten years.[174]
  • Because of the Trump Administration's migration policies, which resulted in fewer migrant workers, farm owners raised their workers' wages and bought machinery to do some of the work.[175] President Trump's immigration policies were also cited as the reason for an increase in construction job opportunities for women.[176]
  • The surge in illegal immigration to Canada that was attributed to President Trump and his policies continued into 2018,[177] and the country's Immigration and Refugee Board was "overwhelmed" by the number of migrants entering the country.[178] On July 18, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even appointed a minister in charge of border security to combat the problem.[179]
  • President Trump used numerous opportunities to advocate for pro-American immigration policies. For example, in his 2018 State of the Union Address, Trump took a strong stance on immigration.[180] He criticized the open borders policies of previous presidential administrations,[181] stated that "Americans are dreamers, too",[182] and called for a merit-based immigration system.[183] He also called for action against MS-13[184] and honored the parents of the gang's victims.[185] Later, on April 5, 2018, President Trump deliberately went off-script at a tax-reform event to give a strong speech opposing illegal immigration.[186] In April 2018, President Trump explicitly refused to apologize for his statements on immigration that he made during his 2016 campaign.[187] He made strong immigration statements at a May 2018 National Rifle Association speech,[188] and that same month he refused to back down when the Left and the media condemned him for calling MS-13 members "animals."[189] On June 18, 2018, President Trump made other strong immigration statements, criticizing Europe's open border policies,[190] and he stated that under his presidency the U.S. "will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility."[191] In July 2018, he again criticized Europe's migration policies, saying they were changing the continent for the worse and taking away its culture.[192] Trump criticized Europe's migration policies again in October 2018.[193] He made other strong statements criticizing the media[194] and Democrats[195] in the following days. He also called for the ability to immediately send illegal immigrants back to their home countries.[196] He also described the 2018 Migrant caravan as an "invasion"[197] and questioned why they waved the flags of their home countries if they wanted asylum in the U.S.[198] President Trump called for putting U.S. borders and citizens first, before those of other countries.[199] He also defended ICE when it came under attack from the Left,[200] and on August 20, 2018, he released an open letter defending ICE and held a White House ceremony honoring the agency and its members.[201] On November 1, 2018, President Trump gave a strong speech vowing to crack down on asylum abuse and illegal immigration.[202] Despite these strong statements, President Trump sometimes made weak statements on immigration, such as appearing to endorse letting in more foreign guest workers.[203]
  • President Trump continued advocating for the American victims of illegal alien crime, pointing them out during a campaign rally in June 2018[204] and holding an event for them a few days later,[205] among other examples.[206]
  • President Trump had shifted the GOP toward espousing pro-American immigration policies.[207]

Failures, 2018

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:

  • March 23, 2018—The omnibus spending bill that President Trump reluctantly signed[21] had several measures that ignored and even hurt his conservative immigration agenda.[208][209] For example, the H-2B visa program was expanded, making it easier for employers to hire foreign workers rather than American citizens.[210] Additionally, the bill funded the hiring of only 65 new ICE agents as opposed to the 1,000 that President Trump requested.[211][212] It also allowed for increasing the practice of "catch-and-release" by eliminating 250 detention center beds despite President Trump's call to massively increase that number.[209][213] The bill also did little to achieve President Trump's promise to build a wall on the Southern border.[214] In addition to providing significantly less money than it asked for,[22] the bill included a clause specifically prohibiting the Trump Administration from using any of its wall prototype designs for the wall,[215] among some other restrictions.[22]
  • It was reported in April 2018 that since the beginning of Trump's presidency in January 2017, the Trump Administration released about 100,000 illegal immigrants that it caught crossing the nation's southern border, which it did because of "catch-and-release" laws that had been previously passed by Congress.[216]
  • June 25, 2018—The Customs and Border Protection agency announced that despite the Administration's zero-tolerance policy officially remaining in effect, because of President Trump's executive order to end the separation of illegal alien minors from their parents, it had to suspend prosecutions for illegal alien parents.[217] In another failure, the DHS was forced to release illegal immigrant parents in order to reunite them with their illegal minor children,[218] even though thousands of empty beds in ICE facilities were available for them.[219] Additionally, the HHS admitted in August 2018 that is was continuing to deliver illegal immigrant minors to their close illegal immigrant relatives already in the U.S.[220] The number of migrant families illegally entering the country reached a record high in August 2018 as a result,[221] and high illegal immigration levels continued afterward.[222]
  • December 18, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it would temporarily release illegal minors into homes containing illegals, though it said it would continue fingerprinting "sponsors."[223]
  • Because of the need to deal with massive illegal immigration on the U.S. southern border, ICE was forced to decrease the number of arrests of illegals in the interior of the U.S.[224]
  • Despite the Trump Administration's many accomplishments on immigration in its first two years, some conservatives noted it had not been as aggressive as it could have been.[2][225]

References

  1. Multiple references: See also:
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revisiting ‘A Pen and a Phone’: A Midterm Assessment. Center for Immigration Studies. January 30, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
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  4. Multiple references: See also: The DOJ also hired dozens of additional immigration judges:
  5. Multiple references: See also:
  6. Binder, John (March 30, 2018). Wilbur Ross Keeps Winning for Trump’s Economic Nationalist Agenda. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Meckler, Laura (May 17, 2018). Wider Net Cast in Illegal-Immigration Cases. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kirkwood, R. Cort (November 9, 2018). Deportation Orders Hit Record High, Immigration Courts Clogged. The New American. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
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  10. Piccolo, Jason (November 30, 2018). Under fire from liberals and Hollywood, ICE is busy fighting the opioid crisis. Washington Examiner. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  11. Norman, Greg (December 31, 2018). MS-13 crackdown severely reduces gang's violent criminal activity in New York stronghold. Fox News. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  12. Binder, John (February 5, 2019). Fact Check: Yes, Nearly 300K Criminal Illegal Aliens Arrested Over Two Years. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  13. Multiple references: The Trump Administration received some help from the Mexican government in this area: See also:
  14. 14.0 14.1 Whelan, Robbie (November 19, 2018). U.S. Slashes Migrant Border Crossings. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Multiple references: Specifically regarding USCIS Lee Francis Cissna:
  16. Multiple references:
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  18. 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:
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  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Multiple references:
  23. Multiple references:
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  25. Multiple references:
  26. Multiple references:
  27. Multiple references: Data later in the year on refugee office closures:
  28. Multiple references: See also: Macchi, Victoria (April 27, 2017). Trump's Cuts to US Refugee Program Lead to 300-plus Layoffs. Voice of America. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Multiple references: See also:
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  33. Bernal, Rafael (May 11, 2018). Trump close to wiping out TPS program for immigrants. The Hill. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  34. Multiple references: See also:
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  38. 38.0 38.1 Kirby, Brendan (May 12, 2018). Feds Announce New Efforts to Protect American Workers. LifeZette. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  39. Multiple references:
  40. Dinan, Stephen (June 13, 2018). Backdoor to illegal immigration closing: U.S. clears more asylum cases than it receives in May. The Washington Times. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  41. Multiple references: See also:
  42. Multiple references: See also:
  43. Multiple references: See also:
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Multiple references:
  46. Dinan, Stephen (July 9, 2018). U.S. citizenship agency creates new unit to block foreign agents, police misconduct. The Washington Times. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
    Early reports of the new office, before it was finalized or formally announced:
  47. Multiple references:
  48. Multiple references:
  49. Multiple references:
  50. Multiple references: See also
  51. Multiple references:
  52. Multiple references: See also:
  53. 53.0 53.1 Multiple references: See also: Articles about the Global Compact on Refugees before the Trump Administration announced it would withdraw:
  54. Multiple references: See also:
  55. Multiple references:
  56. Multiple references:
  57. Multiple references:
  58. Multiple references:
  59. Multiple references:
  60. Multiple references: Earlier in the year: UN member states – but not the U.S. and the countries that joined it – voted to adopt the agreement on December 10, 2018: See also:
  61. Multiple references:
  62. Leahy, Michael Patrick (January 17, 2018). Refugee Admissions Fall to New Low During First Two Weeks of January. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  63. Leahy, Michael Patrick (February 6, 2018). Four Months into FY 2018, Refugee Admissions Plunge to Lowest Level in 15 Years. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  64. Macchi, Victoria (January 26, 2018). US Taking Fewer Muslim Refugees. Voice of America. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  65. Multiple references:
  66. Multiple references:
  67. Multiple references: See also:
  68. Multiple references: See also:
  69. Macchi, Victoria (June 29, 2018). US Accepts Record-High Percentage of Christian Refugees. Voice of America. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  70. Multiple references:
  71. Multiple references: See also:
  72. Binder, John (December 31, 2018). Trump Cuts Obama’s Refugee Inflow by More than 75 Percent in 2018. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
    See also:
  73. Multiple references:
  74. Multiple references:
  75. Multiple references:
  76. Multiple references: An earlier announcement by ICE: Due to a warning made by the mayor of Oakland, ICE stated it did not arrest as many illegals as it hoped to: See also:
  77. Multiple references:
  78. Multiple references: See also:
  79. Multiple references:
  80. Multiple references:
  81. Multiple references:
  82. Multiple references: See also:
  83. Multiple references: See also:
  84. Multiple references:
  85. Multiple references:
  86. Multiple references:
  87. Multiple references:
  88. Multiple references: See also:
  89. Multiple references:
  90. Multiple references:
  91. Multiple references:
  92. Multiple references:
  93. Multiple references:
  94. Multiple references:
  95. Multiple references:
  96. Munro, Neil (July 24, 2018). DHS Massively Expands Enforcement Against Illegals’ Employers. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  97. Multiple references:
  98. Binder, John (September 3, 2018). Labor Day: Evaluating the Benefits of ICE Raids for American Workers. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  99. Multiple references: However, See also:
  100. Multiple references:
  101. Multiple references:
  102. Multiple references: See also:
  103. Multiple references:
  104. Multiple references:
  105. Multiple references:
  106. Multiple references:
  107. Multiple references:
  108. Multiple references: Overall ICE enforcement in 2018: See also:
  109. Radnofsky, Louise (March 21, 2019). U.S. Deportations Rise, but Remain Below Peak in Obama Era. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  110. Multiple references:
  111. Multiple references:
  112. Multiple references:
  113. Levinson, Reade (March 29, 2018). Exclusive: Under Trump, prosecutors fight reprieves for people facing deportation. Reuters. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  114. Multiple references:
  115. Multiple references: Despite this order, some media sources reported that the "zero tolerance" policy was reportedly not as effective as hoped: Other media outlets reported that the order greatly expanded the number of prosecuted illegals: See also:
  116. Multiple references: DHS Secretary Nielsen defended the policy shortly afterward in front of Congress: See also:
  117. Multiple references:
  118. Multiple references: See also:
  119. Multiple references: Despite this, illegal migration by migrant families remained at high levels: Unofficial reports of the drop in illegal border crossings: July 2018 numbers:
  120. Multiple references:
  121. Munro, Neil (April 6, 2018). AG Jeff Sessions Returns Deportation Orders to Pre-Obama Levels. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  122. Multiple references:
  123. Multiple references:
  124. Multiple references:
  125. Multiple references: See also:
  126. Multiple references: See also:
  127. Multiple references: The zero-tolerance policy remained in effect despite some reports stating otherwise: Shortly afterward, the DHS released its plan for reuniting the illegal minors with their illegal immigrant parents: See also:
  128. Dinan, Stephen (June 20, 2015). Trump orders Sessions to challenge the 'Flores' family-immigration policy in court. The Washington Times. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
    See also:
  129. Multiple references: See also:
  130. Multiple references: See also:
  131. Multiple references: See also:
  132. Multiple references:
  133. Dinan, Stephen (January 2, 2019). Trump makes 'historic progress' in crackdown on deportation deadbeats. The Washington Times. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
    See also:
  134. Multiple references: See also:
  135. Multiple references: See also:
  136. Multiple references:
  137. Multiple references: The policy's provisions combating the smuggling of illegal minors into the U.S.: See also:
  138. Multiple references: See also:
  139. Multiple references: The DHS's explanation: The CBP temporarily closed the same port of entry on November 25, 2018, after the caravan migrants actually attempted to force themselves across the border: See also: Regarding the U.S.'s use of tear gas to defend its agents: President Trump's reaction: Notably, U.S. immigration authorities had to use tear gas again on January 1, 2019, to defend the border:
  140. Multiple references: See also:
  141. Gibson, Jake (November 28, 2018). DOJ sending agents to southern border. Fox News. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
    See also:
  142. Multiple references: See also:
  143. Multiple references: See also:
  144. Multiple references:
  145. Multiple references: The deployment was announced prior to actual signing: The National Guard's intended role in the deployment: President Trump's action was not unprecedented, as Presidents Bush II and Obama also deployed the National Guard to the border during their terms: See also:
  146. Multiple references:
  147. Multiple references:
  148. Multiple references: More on the National Guard's work:
  149. Multiple references:
  150. Multiple references: After only a few days, the deployment already had tangible results: The federal government massively increased arrests on federal border lands as a result of the Interior Department's action: See also:
  151. Multiple references: The operation was originally called "Faithful Patriot," but the Pentagon eventually dropped that name: See also:
  152. Multiple references: U.S. military officials stated that they expected the total number of deployed soldiers to eventually exceed 5,200: The Pentagon later stated the number of troops would be raised to about 8,000: See also:
  153. Multiple references:
  154. Multiple references: Some of the results of the deployment: See also:
  155. Multiple references: See also:
  156. Multiple references: See also:
  157. Multiple references: See also:
  158. Multiple references: The project was completed in October 2018: DHS Secretary Nielsen visited the fencing to commemorate its completion: See also:
  159. Multiple references:
  160. Merchant, Nomaan; Mone, John L. (April 14, 2018). On the lower Rio Grande, a glimpse at the border Trump wants. Associated Press. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  161. Multiple references:
  162. Multiple references: See also:
  163. Multiple references: See also:
  164. Multiple references:
  165. Multiple references:
  166. Binder, John (April 10, 2018). Trump’s New Border ‘Wall’ Resembles Fence Obama Constructed That Illegal Aliens Recently Hopped Over. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
    See also:
  167. Multiple references:
  168. Multiple references:
  169. Multiple references:
  170. Multiple references: See also:
  171. Gramer, Robbie (July 26, 2018). Refugee Skeptic to Assume Key Role on Migration Issues at State Department. Foreign Policy. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  172. Multiple references:
  173. Multiple references: See also:
  174. Multiple references:
  175. Multiple references:
  176. Binder, John (May 22, 2018). Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Opening Construction Jobs for Women. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  177. Multiple references: The surge was so great that the Canadian government took steps to end it: See also:
  178. Multiple references: See also:
  179. Multiple references:
  180. Multiple references:
  181. Binder, John (January 30, 2018). Trump Assails Open Borders in SOTU Address. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  182. Pollak, Joel B. (January 30, 2018). Trump on Immigration in State of the Union: ‘Americans Are Dreamers, Too’. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  183. Binder, John (January 30, 2018). Trump in SOTU Address: ‘It Is Time’ for Merit-Based Legal Immigration. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  184. Binder, John (January 30, 2018). Trump in SOTU Address: Congress Must Close ‘Deadly Loopholes’ That Allowed MS-13 Gang to Proliferate. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  185. Multiple references: Some of President Trump's guests showcased the policies he supported:
  186. Multiple references:
  187. Multiple references: See also:
  188. Multiple references:
  189. Multiple references: See also:
  190. Multiple references: See also:
  191. Multiple references:
  192. Multiple references: See also:
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  199. Multiple references: See also:
  200. Multiple references:
  201. Multiple references: See also:
  202. Multiple references: See also:
  203. Multiple references: Another statement, made early the following year:
  204. Multiple references:
  205. Multiple references: See also:
  206. Multiple references: See also:
  207. Multiple references:
  208. Sherfinski, David; Dinan, Stephen (March 21, 2018). Trump’s immigration initiatives ignored in $1.3 trillion spending bill. The Washington Times. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
    See also:
  209. 209.0 209.1 Dinan, Stephen (March 21, 2018). Spending bill forces DHS to cut detention beds for illegal immigrants. The Washington Times. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  210. Munro, Neil (March 21, 2018). GOP Leaders Expand H-2B Visa-Worker Program. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
    See also:
  211. Binder, John (March 23, 2018). Spending Bill Does Not Fund 1,000 New Deportation Agents Trump Requested. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  212. Katz, Eric (March 26, 2018). Congress Rejects Trump’s Bid for More Immigration Enforcement and Border Patrol Agents. Government Executive. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  213. Binder, John (March 23, 2018). Omnibus Spending Bill Allows More Illegal Aliens to Be Released into U.S. Through ‘Catch and Release’. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  214. Binder, John (April 16, 2018). Despite Trump’s Claims, Much Cannot Be Done with $1.6B for Border Fencing. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  215. Multiple references:
  216. Multiple references:
  217. Multiple references:
  218. Multiple references: See also:
  219. Dinan, Stephen (July 15, 2018). 40% vacancy: Feds release illegal immigrant families instead of filling detention centers. The Washington Times. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
    Later news reports stated that illegal migrants were also released because ICE did not have space for them:
  220. Munro, Neil (August 16, 2018). Border Agencies Must Deliver Youth Migrants to Illegal-Alien Relatives in U.S., Says HHS Official. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
    See also:
  221. Dinan, Stephen (September 12, 2018). Illegal immigrant families exploit 'catch-and-release' loopholes, surge over border at record levels. The Washington Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
    See also:
  222. Multiple references: The high migration levels were labeled a crisis:
  223. Multiple references: The migrants were released over Christmas: The Trump Administration decided to release another 2,000 illegal aliens early in the following year: A large "tent city" was closed because of this policy change: See also:
  224. Multiple references: See also:
  225. Multiple references: