Trump Unleashes Many Executive Orders in the First Two Weeks
by Alexander Chen on Friday, February 10th, 2017
#NotMyPresident, #DeleteUber, #BoycottStarbucks, #NoBanNoWall… Trump’s first week was definitely no normal week in Washington. Taking the oath of office on January 20th, President Trump quickly followed-up on key campaign promises by enacting numerous executive orders and presidential memoranda. Immediately addressing controversial issues like the Affordable Care Act, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the wall on the Southern border of the United States, and his Muslim ban, Trump demonstrated his readiness to enact change, for better or for worse. While many of his first week actions were prefaced during his campaign, Trump still drew backlash from Americans around the country.
Just hours after his inauguration, Trump signed his first executive order, targeting part of Obama’s legacy, the Affordable Care Act and sent a message to Americans that The Trump Administration would be working to dismantle the health care law. Although Congress had already begun the repeal of ObamaCare prior to his inauguration, Trump emphasized that the executive branch would work to repeal the law as well, another of his key campaign promises.
Taking a break over the weekend, Trump issued three presidential memoranda on Monday, January 23rd. Again following his campaign promises, Trump issued his first presidential memorandum of that day, which withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and agreement. Trump cited the need for a “fair and economically beneficial trade.” As the White House stated, Trump withdrew from the twelve-nation agreement and declared that future trade deals would “deal directly with individual countries on a one-on-one (or bilateral) basis.”
Trump also issued a presidential memorandum on the Mexico City Policy, a policy that prohibited “foreign aid from the United States to be given to any nongovernmental organization abroad that discussed abortion as a family-planning option,” according to Time. Although Obama rescinded the policy as one of his first executive actions, Trump reinstated it and widened the scope of the policy by prohibiting any organization or program supporting abortion, domestic or abroad, from receiving taxpayer dollars.
Tuesday’s executive actions focused on environmental and manufacturing policy. Trump issued two presidential memoranda calling for an expedited approval of the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite rising environmental concerns.
On Wednesday, Trump addressed his “build the wall” campaign promise by signing an executive order calling for the Customs and Border Patrol to, as he said, “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.” Additionally, Trump issued an executive order “to support immigration enforcement and punish local governments that don’t comply with federal authorities,” according to the Washington Post.
Moreover, Trump’s executive order targets “sanctuary cities,” cities where undocumented immigrants are more protected from deportation. Usually, if an undocumented immigrant is arrested for a crime and his or her status is discovered, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can request local authorities to transfer the immigrant to a federal jail where he may face deportation. In “sanctuary cities,” local authorities tend to refuse the request, protecting the undocumented immigrant from facing a federal jail. Trump’s executive order cuts federal grants from “sanctuary cities.”
Ending his first week with his most controversial executive order, Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entry into the United States for 90 days, temporarily suspending the United States Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and indefinitely banning the entrance of Syrian refugees into the United States. Immediately followed by protests around the country, Trump’s executive order was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and state Attorney Generals. A day after the executive order was issued, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, a case which resulted in an emergency stay of deportations of detainees of the executive order, according to The Hill.
On Monday, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates publicly refused to have the Justice Department defend Trump’s controversial order. Hours later, Yates was fired by President Trump. Last Friday, February 3rd, Judge James Robart of Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that Trump’s executive order was unconstitutional. Temporarily halting Trump’s executive order, Robart’s ruling was a major blow to The Trump Administration, causing Homeland Security to announce a pause in implementation of the immigration executive order. As of Homeland Security’s announcement, travel for citizens of those seven countries with valid visas and documentation should return to that of before the executive order.
Trump’s first week was filled with support, anger, and confusion. Following many of his campaign promises, President Trump appears to stick to his words, hoping to keep support from those who voted for him in November. While Trump has stuck to his campaign promises, he has also divided America even more. Starting with a protest against Trump’s inauguration and ending with a united fight from civil liberties groups against his executive actions, Trump’s first week in office has pushed the divisiveness between Americans to the limit.
Extending beyond dividing Americans, Trump has also united the members of those divided groups, creating an even more polarized America. Although he may have believed that Americans would be able to unite behind him when he won the election, Trump has a lot of work ahead of him if he hopes to really bridge the divide in the American society.
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