WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump moved aggressively to tighten the nation's immigration controls Wednesday, signing executive actions to jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and block federal grants from immigrant-protecting "sanctuary cities."
"Beginning today the United States of America gets back control of its borders," Trump declared during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security. "We are going to save lives on both sides of the border."
Trump cast his actions as fulfillment of a campaign pledge to enact hard-line immigration measures, including construction of a wall paid for by Mexico. With the families of Americans killed by people living in the U.S. illegally sitting in the audience, Trump said, "When it comes to public safety, there is no place for politics."
Funding for the border wall project is murky. While Trump has repeatedly promised that Mexico will pay for it, U.S. taxpayers are expected to cover the initial costs and the new administration has said nothing about how it will compel Mexico to reimburse the money. One of the executive actions Trump signed Wednesday appears to signal that he could restrict aid to Mexico.