Donald Trump , who tweeted that a “big day” was planned on national security on Wednesday, is expected to sign executive orders starting today that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Trump is expected to order a multi-month ban on allowing refugees into the United States except for religious minorities escaping persecution, until more aggressive vetting is in place.
In his tweet late on Tuesday, Trump said: “Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!”
The border security measures probably include directing the construction of a border wall with Mexico and other actions to cut the number of illegal immigrants living in the United States. The sources say the first of the orders will be signed on Wednesday. With Trump considering measures to tighten border security, he could turn his attention to the refugee issue later this week.
Stephen Legomsky, who was chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration, said the president had the authority to limit refugee admissions and the issuance of visas to specific countries if the administration determined it was in the public’s interest.
“From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights,” said Legomsky.
The Republican president, who took office last Friday, was expected to sign the first of the orders at the Department of Homeland Security, whose responsibilities include immigration and border security. To block entry from the designated countries, Trump is likely to tell the State Department to stop issuing visas to people from those nations. He could also instruct US Customs and Border Protection to stop any current visa holders from those countries from entering the United States.
On the campaign trail, Trump initially proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, which he said would protect Americans from jihadist attacks. Many Trump supporters decried former President Barack Obama’s decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States over fears that those fleeing the country’s civil war would carry out attacks.
Other measures may include directing all agencies to finish work on a biometric identification system for non-citizens entering and exiting the United States and a crackdown on immigrants fraudulently receiving government benefits, according to the congressional aides and immigration experts.