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Trump Prepares Next Steps: Mexico Wall, Freeze on Refugee Admissions

  • VOA News

FILE - Workers raise a taller fence along the Mexico-US border between the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico, Nov. 10, 2016. For almost two decades, a Mass has been celebrated there on the Day of the Dead to remember migrants who have died trying to cross the fence.

U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to move forward with orders to build a wall along the border with Mexico and impose temporary bans on who is allowed to enter the country, according to several government officials and immigration experts.

Trump is expected to sign the first of his immigration related orders Wednesday during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security.

The moves are in line with his frequent campaign promises to tighten national security.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday night, Trump tweeted: “Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!”

Wall along entire border

Trump wants a wall along the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border. Currently there is a barrier along part of the border. He has frequently promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, including saying Congress would initially authorize the U.S. government to pick up the cost and be reimbursed later by the Mexican government.

Mexico has repeatedly stated it will not pay for the wall. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is scheduled visit the White House next week.

On refugees

People familiar with the immigration orders said Trump is considering a four-month freeze on all refugee admissions, as well as banning for at least 30 days entry to the U.S. by anyone from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The ban was believed to include an exception for people who are religious minorities in their country and facing persecution.

Trump often used his campaign rallies to criticize U.S. admissions of refugees, saying, "We have no idea who these people are." He also initially proposed a ban on admitting people from Muslim countries, drawing sharp criticism, and later amended his stance to countries with terrorism ties.

The White House under former President Barack Obama said its priority was to protect Americans, while also working to help those who had been pushed from their homes by war, terrorism and political instability.

The Obama administration said refugees are "the most thoroughly screened travelers" to the United States and are required to undergo security checks, examination of biographic and biometric data, vetting by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and extensive interviews before they are allowed into the country. For many refugees, the process takes up to two years to complete.

In 2016, the U.S. admitted about 85,000 refugees, including more than 12,500 Syrians. Obama set a goal for the 2017 fiscal year, which began in October, of 110,000 refugee admissions.

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