US President Donald Trump plans to sign executive orders to restrict immigration to the country, including demanding the construction of his proposed wall on the US-Mexico border and suspending visas for citizens of Iran and six other Middle Eastern and African countries, at least temporarily.
Trump will begin unveiling the executive actions on Wednesday, beginning with steps to temporary ban most refugees entering the US and deny visas to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, according to congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter.
Another order will enable the construction of a border wall with Mexico and other actions to cut the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified.
"Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "Among many other things, we will build the wall!”
The proposed orders are among a series of national security directives Trump is considering issuing in the coming days. They include keeping open the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and reviewing whether to resume the CIA’s once-secret "black site” detention program.
Trump’s upcoming executive actions could lead to wide-ranging and controversial changes in the way Washington conducts itself domestically and internationally in the name of security, potentially leading to the reinstatement of policies that have been rejected by much of the world.
Trump’s divisive rhetoric during his presidential campaign angered many people at home and abroad. The real estate tycoon repeatedly made disparaging remarks about women, Muslims and immigrants.
Building a wall on the US-Mexico border to stop the influx of refugees and undocumented migrants coming from Central and Latin America was a hallmark of Trump's presidential campaign.
Trump’s critics and immigration activists could launch legal challenges if all the countries subject to the ban are Muslim-majority countries, said Hiroshi Motomura, a scholar on immigration and professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Legal arguments could claim the executive orders discriminate against a particular religion, which would be unconstitutional, he said. "His comments during the campaign and a number of people on his team focused very much on religion as the target," Motomura said.