President Donald Trump signed executive orders Wednesday that the White House said would facilitate the construction of a wall on the southern border and penalize so-called sanctuary cities, among other measures.

The first executive order, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, establishes a policy of securing the border with Mexico “through the immediate construction of a physical wall.” The order also calls for the hiring of additional border patrol, if funding is available, and directs the Department of Homeland Security to take action to ensure that inadmissible aliens are returned to their home country pending removal proceedings.

The second order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, directs the Justice Department and DHS to ensure that, to the extent allowed by the law, sanctuary cities “are not eligible to receive Federal grants,” except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes. The term “sanctuary cities” generally refers to cities that violate federal law by refusing to share information with federal authorities.

Numerous media outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post, reported that Trump was also moving toward signing an executive order that would halt refugee admissions to the U.S. for 120 days and ban entry for a month to anyone arriving from “countries of particular concern.” This executive order had not yet been signed, however, and is subject to change.

BAL Analysis: Trump’s executive orders represent steps toward fulfilling promises that were at the heart of his campaign for the presidency, but a number of questions remain as to the logistics of building and funding a border wall. Attempts to strip sanctuary cities—including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco—of funding could set up legal and political battles between the federal government and local jurisdictions. BAL will continue to analyze these orders and will provide additional information in the coming days. An in-depth look at how Trump’s presidency could affect high-skilled immigration is available on BAL’s website.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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