Donald Trump giving a speech

What Trump’s Executive Orders Will Do to U.S. Immigration

Just moments ago, the American Immigration Lawyers Association received a leaked, unsigned copy of one of President Donald Trump’s two anticipated Executive Orders on immigration.

If signed, one of the executive orders would call for the construction of a “large physical barrier” on the U.S. border with Mexico. The second executive order, which AILA has received, would be of far greater consequence to immigrants. Here is what it will do:

  • Stop most refugee admissions for at least four months. The 120-day pause in refugee admissions to the U.S. would exempt those fleeing religious persecution if they are a religious minority in their country. This would also seek to reduce 2017 refugee admissions from Obama’s goal of 110,000 to 50,000.
  • Suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program. All visa applicants must attend an interview unless not required to by statute.
  • Try to force local law-enforcement agencies to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal authorities, by stripping federal grant funding from so-called sanctuary cities that “harbor illegal immigrants.”
  • Ban entry to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries. At least a 30-day ban of all immigrants and nonimmigrants, probably including: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Other countries could be added, and other immigration benefits besides visas could be impacted.
  • Restore the controversial Secure Communities program, which former President Barack Obama ended, to tighten immigration enforcement inside the U.S.
  • Direct federal agencies to speed up a biometric-entry exit.

AILA expects to learn more about these anticipated effects throughout the day.

Though these changes will not affect a majority of our clients, the consequences are severe on those impacted. This is an historic upending of years of immigration policy. My team and I are following these developments closely. If you have questions about your status or the status of a loved one, you can contact our office for a free initial consultation. We are here to help.

Ask Henry Lim
Do you have a question for Henry Lim? During over 20 years of practicing law, he has helped more than 10,000 families move to the United States. You can Ask Henry a question at or submit a video question by sending a link to one of our channels. For legal assistance, email or call for an appointment: (407) 512-9919. Our first consultation is complimentary.