Plaza Voices: New Executive Orders on Immigration

During his first week in office, Donald Trump signed three executive orders on immigration. These orders allow the President to set policy without the approval of Congress, according to the Gale Encyclopedia of Law, but most of the actions will take time to implement, and all will be subject to legal challenges under the U.S. Constitution.

Almost immediately, one of these actions was successfully challenged, and those efforts will be ongoing. In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security has released a statement saying that they will enforce the orders and "faithfully execute the immigration laws."

The first order, "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements," directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to begin planning a wall between Mexico and the United States and increase the number of detention centers along the border, among other actions (see a rundown of all of Trump's executive orders here).

The second, "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," instructs Homeland Security to deport undocumented immigrants who have criminal convictions or who have been charged with a crime, reinstates the "Secure Communities" program, and moves to withdraw federal funding from "sanctuary jurisdictions."

The third order, "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States," blocks the acceptance of new refugees for 120 days; suspends for 90 days the entry of "immigrants and nonimmigrants" from six predominately Muslim countries, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen; bans entry of Syrian immigrants and refugees indefinitely; and cuts in half the number of refugees able to enter the United States in the coming year.

This last order, signed the afternoon of Friday, January 27, had immediate repercussions, as an estimated 100 to 200 people were detained in airports across the country on Friday and Saturday, prompting widespread protests. Late on Saturday, a federal judge blocked the immediate deportation of those already in the United States. The situation is still developing, with the White House apparently walking back some of the provisions of this executive order.

Interested community members can read more about executive orders, learn the facts about criminal activity, and become aware of conditions in the countries affected by the ban.

Immigrants and others should know their rights, and can find out more from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Local resources for immigrants and refugees are outlined in our Immigrant Resource Guide, available on our website in English, Amharic, Arabic, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

The Denver Public Library is committed to free and equal access for all Denver residents. The library offers Services to Immigrants and Refugees, including our flagship Plaza program, as well as many resources that explore the immigrant experience. Check in with our Plaza Voices blog to read personal stories, learn about the latest issues affecting immigrants, and stay current with trends and research.

Plazas are an open community space where immigrants from all over the world connect with people, information, and resources, building Denver’s global community. Come to practice a language, prepare for citizenship, pursue your goals, and create your future. Whatever you’re doing, we can help! Please see our events calendar for more information.

Written by Amma R. on January 30, 2017


Anonymous on January 30, 2017


Thank you for this timely and informative message. Let us come together as one nation to protect the rights and dignity of all persons.


Thank you for sharing the resource, Gale Encyclopedia of Law. I had to refresh my understanding of what exactly is an executive order. Thank you.

Anonymous on January 30, 2017


Thank you for this very useful resource for ourselves and the community.

Deb on January 30, 2017


Thank you so much, Amanda and DPL. It heartened me to see this message and educational statement on an evening that has been again tumultuous and frightening.

Tera on February 1, 2017


Thank you DPL!

Karrie L. on February 1, 2017


Kudos to DPL for explaining the executive orders and your commitment to free and equal access to all Denver residents.

Anonymous on February 1, 2017


Very proud of Denver and DPL!


Thank you to everyone who is reading and commenting. The Plaza Voices blog team will continue to provide information and resources on these important issues, along with stories from immigrants and refugees. Your support is appreciated.

Anonymous on February 2, 2017


Thank you for standing up for others, may we all act in such a welcoming manner!

Anonymous on February 5, 2017


Thank you Amanda!