So how big will Donald Trump’s wall really be?
The wall along the southwest border with Mexico was one of the president-elect’s signature campaign promises, as he railed against illegal immigration and vowed to seal the borders against criminals, terrorists and millions of people trying to enter the United States legally. Now, immigration experts are trying to figure out exactly how those policies will work in a Trump administration.
And so far, it looks like he will be able to follow through on many of his pledges — with or without help from Congress.
“Generally speaking, any president has wide discretion when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws because immigration touches on national sovereignty,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor at Cornell Law School and author of a 21-volume treatise, Immigration Law and Procedure.
The first, and possibly easiest, change Trump can make is redirecting the Department of Homeland Security to ramp up deportations. At the beginning of the campaign, Trump said all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country must go. In the closing months, he talked more about deporting immigrants with criminal records — “bad hombres” — and opened the possibility of finding a way for some to remain in the country.