Ever since assuming office, the only thing President Donald Trump seems to be doing is signing documents inside huge file folders and flashing them to cameras like a proud child showing off his first crayon drawing.
The billionaire has so far signed executive orders to revive the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines, authorized the U.S.-Mexico border wall, stripped sanctuary cities of federal grant money and reinstated the ban on federal funds to international groups that either perform abortions or lobby to legalize or promote it.
He also announced the U.S. will begin withdrawing from TPP deal and imposed a hiring freeze for some federal government workers.
Meanwhile, his administration has frozen all grants and funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and instructed employees at multiple agencies to cease communication with the public.
However, it appears the worst is yet to come.
Several publications have been able to obtain and publish drafts of impending executive orders, and although unconfirmed, they fall perfectly in line with Trump’s contentious campaign trail policies.
Disclaimer: the unverified drafts, detailed below, might be subject to substantial revisions and alterations. By the time these documents reach the president for issuance, the Department of Justice or the Office of Legal Counsel might have modified or even scrapped a few/several sections.
“Ending Unconstitutional Executive Amnesties”
Deporting undocumented immigrants was the foundation of Trump’s election campaign.
If enacted, this executive order would mark an end to former President Barack Obama’s historic amnesty programs that effectively protected more than 740,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation over the period of last four years.
Here are the key takeaways:
- The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — which provided temporary protection from deportation to those who came to the U.S. when they were younger than 16 years old, pursued education and had no felony convictions or significant misdemeanors — will be suspended.
- The work permits already issued under the program will remain valid. However, once they expire (likely to happen in next two years), they will not be renewed.
- The beneficiaries of Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) act, commonly referred to as DREAMers, would not be allowed back into the country if they choose to leave.
- It would also put an end to Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which granted deferred action status to illegal immigrants who had either lived in America since 2010 or/and had children who were lawful permanent residents.
The draft of the order can be read here.
“Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”
The former reality TV star drew ire from across the world when he proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States. Despite the backlash, he repeated the comment several times in order to pander to the racists in America.
This executive order is pretty much just that.
Here a few main pointers:
- United States will suspend both immigrant and nonimmigrant entries for the residents of Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq — the Muslim-majority countries on State Department’s terrorism watch list.
- Once enacted, the executive order would allow officials at U.S. airports and other entry points to turn away even those with valid visas.
- The country would halt refugee admission and resettlement programs for 120-day period. Religious minorities fleeing persecution would be exempted.
- Refugees from Syria would have to wait even longer for the new administration to revise the vetting procedures.
- The total number of refugee admission in fiscal year 2017 would be cut from 110,000 to 50,000.
- The secretary of state would have 90 days to provide “safe areas” in Syria where displaced Syrian nationals can reside.
- All travelers to the United States would have to provide biometric entry and exit data.
- The country would suspend “Visa Interview Waiver Program,” which allowed applicants to apply for a visa without undergoing face-to-face interview at a U.S. consulate.
The entire draft can be read here.
UPDATE: President Trump signed the executive order barring immigration from seven Muslim countries.
“Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations”
Trump is not a huge fan of the United Nations, frequently insults women, hates poor people and thinks climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese.
Unsurprisingly, he is now expected to sign an executive order that would dramatically reduce the U.S. funding of the U.N. as well as several other international organizations.
The draft order calls for enacting “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in U.S. funding to international groups.
According to the order, funding would be taken away from:
- Any United Nations agency or international body that gave full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization, supported abortion or any group that skirted sanctions on Iran or North Korea.
- Any organization that is “controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism” or is behind the persecution of “marginalized groups” or “systematic violation of human rights.”
The order singles out:
- The International Criminal Court (ICC)
- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- Development aid to countries that “oppose important United States policies”
More information can be found here.
“Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs”
If approved in its entirety, this executive order would be one of the harshest crackdowns on legal immigration the country has ever experienced.
On the other hand, it would prioritize “the interests of American workers and — to the maximum degree possible — the jobs, wages, and well-being of those workers.”
Here is the breakdown:
- The memo would reverse former administration’s extension of the duration of Optional Practical Training visas.
- Spouses of H-1B visa holders would not be able to obtain work permits.
- The regulations that provided relief to those who were eligible for green card but were unable to apply due to the “three- and ten-year bars” would be undone.
- The Department of Homeland Security would initiate “site visits” at places that employ guest workers with L-1 visas and would later include all employment-based visa programs.
- Homeland security would “consider ways” to amend the H-1B program for technical guest workers, making it “more efficient” and ensuring the “beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest.”
- Homeland security would “improve monitoring of foreign students” and “reform practical training programs for foreign students to prevent the disadvantaging of U.S. students in the workforce.”
- New regulation to “clarify comprehensively” that people on tourist visas may not perform skilled or unskilled labor would be promoted.
- The J-1 Summer Work Travel program would be reformed to “improve protections of U.S. workers.”
Read the full draft here.
“Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants”
During his first televised interview as the POTUS, Trump declared that torture “absolutely works” and said the country should “fight fire with fire” when asked about waterboarding – an illegal enhanced interrogation technique.
Here are some of the most important points:
- Obama’s 2009 executive orders that banned torture and closed the CIA prisons would be rescinded.
- With the 2009 orders overturned, interrogators would no longer be limited to the Army Field Manual techniques. However, since Congress, in 2015, locked it down as a matter of law, the limits would remain in place for now.
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) could be revoked from accessing detainees in U.S. custody.
- It would resurrect former President George Bush’s 2007 executive orders enabling the CIA to resume a form of the interrogation program by specifically listing what sorts of prisoner abuses counted as war crimes.
- Trump administration officials would review and make recommendations “whether to reinitiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States” by the CIA.
- Defense Secretary James N. Mattis would “review the military commissions system and recommend to the president how best to employ the system going forward to provide for the swift and just trial and punishment of unlawful enemy combatants detained in the armed conflict with violent Islamist extremists.”
- However, the draft does not direct any immediate reopening of CIA prisons or revival of torture tactics.
The complete draft can be read here.
“Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom”
If signed, the leaked executive order would allow individuals and organizations to deny services, employment and other benefits to people based on their religious beliefs.
To put it simply, it would be a nightmare for the LGBTQ+ community in the country.
Here are the most important takeaways:
- Companies and individuals affiliated with the federal government can decline to provide adoptions services to homosexual couples.
- Businesses would have the right to refuse services to gays and transgender people.
- Federal employees and contractors can refuse a range of services – including employment – to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identification.
- Conservative beliefs, such as opposition to abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the idea that a person’s gender can differ from their anatomy, will be protected under the law.
- The memo would exempt “all persons and religious organizations” from providing health care options that include contraceptive coverage if they “object to complying with the mandate for religious or moral reasons.”
- Religious organizations would gain tax-exempt status for speaking out against gay marriage, extramarital sex, abortion rights and rights for transgender individuals.
- Churches and other tax-exempt organizations would be allowed to be political, which would violate the 1954 Johnson Amendment barring churches and other nonprofits from endorsing political candidates.
Find out more about the draft here.
This is a developing story.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters