Trump signs executive orders, considers tax to pay for border wall

Considers tax on products from Mexico

By Ashley Bunton -

President Donald Trump said the executive orders he signed Wednesday at the Department of Homeland Security will “save thousands of lives, millions of jobs and billions and billions of dollars.”

Referring to “the unprecedented surge of illegal migrants from central America,” Trump said he believes the executive orders will help to improve safety in both the U.S. and Mexico by “keeping illegal weapons and cash from flowing out of America and into Mexico.”

“Going to be very, very good for Mexico,” said Trump during the televised press conference from DHS.

The two executive orders signed Wednesday are the Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements and Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. The orders mandate the construction of a physical wall at the southern border of the United States and allow for the immediate hiring of 10,000 additional immigration officers to enforce immigration laws.

The Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States executive order cites the additional immigration officers are to be trained in accordance with the law of section 1357 (Powers of immigration officers and employers) in Title 8 (Aliens and Nationality) of the U.S. Code.

Section 1357 provides that the immigration officers may, without warrant: interrogate any person the officer believes may be an alien as to his right to be in the U.S.; arrest any alien the officer has reason to believe may be violating a law; enter onto private land, but not dwellings, within 25 miles of an external boundary; board and search for aliens any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railway car, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle, within reasonable distance to an external boundary.

Section 1357 states officers must have a warrant to interrogate any person they believe to be an alien who is on the premises of a farm or outdoor agricultural operation.

“People are surprised to hear that we do not need new laws, we will work within the existing system and framework. We are going to re-install the rule of law in the United States,” Trump continued in the press conference, calling on two friends in the audience whom he said “will play a very, very important role going forward.”

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Control Council, and Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, “are about to be very, very busy doing their job the way they want to be done,” said Trump.

Trump said he will be working with the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, to improve safety and positive trade on both sides of the border.

“We understand that a strong and healthy economy in Mexico is very good for the United States, very, very good,” said Trump Wednesday, but on Thursday announced that he is considering a 20 percent import tax on products from Mexico to pay for the border wall.

The tax would likely spike consumer prices in the United States on the more than $300 billion in trade revenue it has with Mexico. The U.S. is the number one export destination for Mexican oranges, and among its top destination for citrus fruits. Mexico exports more than 30 metric tons of frozen orange juice concentrates to the United States each year.

The tax Americans would pay on products imported from Mexico would pay for the $20 billion border wall, said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Spicer later clarified to the media that the import tax is only one plan Trump is considering but said the import tax plan “clearly provides the funding and does so in a way that the American taxpayer is wholly respected.”

Hours after Trump delivered his remarks Wednesday, Peña Nieto issued a speech and firmly stated, “I have said it again and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall.”

Peña Nieto said that the two countries have been initiating conversations around new rules for cooperation, trade, investment, security and migration in North America and that he looks forward to continuing the efforts. He then took to Twitter Thursday and reiterated Mexico’s willingness to work with the United States to achieve agreements in favor of both nations and later announced he was cancelling his meeting scheduled next week with Trump.

In a press conference Friday, Trump said he and Peña Nieto had an hour-long phone conversation.

“We are going to be renegotiating our trade deals,” Trump said.

Considers tax on products from Mexico

By Ashley Bunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton