Continuing from Part 2, this next part about kept and unkept election promises made by U.S. President Donald Trump is on security and immigration policy.
Security and Immigration Policy
Donald Trump’s national security and defense promises, which includes immigration, can best be described as having been attempted. Although several of the promises couldn’t be kept, this was due to America’s separation of power at work. The judicial branch has directly blocked three of his promises, two pertaining to a travel ban and one ending funding to “sanctuary cities.” This is important because although it means that in spite of these election promises not going anywhere, the American people can see Trump tried in these well-publicized instances. However there is at least one promise that has been ignored thus far.
Two of Trump’s promises, to suspend the Syrian refugee program and to stop immigration from several Muslim-majority countries seen as being prone to terrorism, were wrapped up into one package. This package was very well known travel ban. After being blocked by a federal judge in Washington state, the ban wasn’t able to be implemented and Trump’s order was ignored. There was a second attempt at a ban that was rewritten to remove certain references but that was blocked as well. Trump’s plan to deport Syrian refugees is unlikely going to go anywhere because of the already established legal battles. Trump’s efforts to keep these promises have had an effect on the perception of those who voted for Trump. In spite of wavering popularity for the bans, at a median of 45 percent from a February 2017 report by The Washington Post, Trump made the effort to keep at least one of his driving campaign promises. As a result his constituents likely had their hope that Trump would carry through on his promises strengthened. They are also likely to be more tolerant of less publicized election promises not kept.
Trump has managed to carry through initiating two of his other promises pertaining to the Middle East, both of which have yet to yield results to the public. Trump has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create vetting techniques that would assist in identifying potential terrorists trying to get on American soil. This is in progress as several measures are being considered, including asking for phone contacts and social media passwords. Trump, in a promise that directly targets a terrorist group, has ordered his generals to come up with a new plan for defeating the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant. The plan itself has yet to be made available to the public. This is consistent with Trump’s past condemnation of the U.S. and its allies announcing attacks on ISIL shortly before initiation of said attacks. It is unknown if this new plan has been implemented or not.
Meanwhile Trump’s major election promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is in progress, but progress has been slowed. While wall prototypes are being tested in San Diego, California, this week Trump stated that he will not push for the funding of the wall as the budget deadline comes up. In spite of efforts to make the wall a reality, Trump’s voter base may see the backing down on funding as an election promise that’s ready to be broken. Chances are that Trump is playing politics to prevent a shutdown of the government over this highly partisan issue. In addition there are reports that Trump hasn’t given up on the project. In spite of this, his voters may have lost some trust in him. According to a January 2017 poll by The Washington Post and ABC, 56 percent of those who wanted Trump to win the 2016 election strongly support the wall while 20 percent moderately support it. The majority among those who have supported Trump see the wall as something that’s needed. The next time there is a budget process, if Trump doesn’t push for funding, it is highly likely that his constituents are going to see themselves as betrayed. On the other hand, if he does push for funding, much of the trust lost will likely be restored.
It seems that Trump’s promise to block funding for “sanctuary cities,” cities that limit their cooperation with immigration law enforcement, will also be blocked by America’s judicial system. Just today, April 25th, a federal judge in San Diego has halted the implementation of a Justice Department order for 9 cities to prove compliance with agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement by the end of June. This is a happening that has occurred as this part of the brief on Trump’s election promises was being made. It is likely that the next series of events will mirror those that occurred with the blocking of Trump’s travel ban. There may be protests as this is the third time an election promise was blocked by a federal judge. Should the block stay in place, Trump supporters may become disillusioned with America’s political system, a conclusion that will be expanded on in the last part of this series of blog posts. Should the block be overturned, up to 2.27 billion dollars will be at stake for cities targeted by the Justice Department order.
Trump has has much more control over his three other promises regarding illegal immigrants. Trump’s promise to deport around 2 million illegal aliens classified to be criminals seems to be set in motion, although it is unclear if said 2 million are being targeted. Arrests of illegal immigrants are up but there has been no apparent change to the number of deportations. Meanwhile there has been no mention of cancelling visas for countries that refuse to take convicted criminals deported by the U.S. In addition Trump doesn’t seem to be going after the two amnesties granted by U.S. President Barack Obama that Trump has called “illegal.” In fact, Trump has said that the “dreamers” protected by the amnesties can “rest easy.” Although this might bring Trump a little bit of support from America’s Hispanic community, many young immigrants feel uneasy about Trump’s pledge to them, according to a story published by the Chicago Tribune in April 2017.
Clement, Scott. (2017, February 13) Americans are more split on the Trump travel ban than you might think. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/13/americans-arent-rejecting-trumps-immigration-ban-outright-but-it-has-a-tough-road-ahead/ and https://archive.fo/034Lm
Phillips, Kristine, & Clement, Scott. (2017, April 24) “Trump says his base ‘really wants’ a border wall. Polls show most Americans don’t.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/24/trump-says-his-base-really-wants-a-border-wall-polls-show-most-americans-dont/ and https://archive.fo/NvBNY
Associated Press. (2017, April 21) Young immigrants won’t ‘rest easy’ despite Trump’s comments on ‘dreamers’. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-dreamers-20170421-story.html and https://archive.fo/KLiHG