Gag orders issued against federal agency employees
In one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump placed gag orders on scientists working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Employees at the EPA, which has also had its funding frozen, are now forbidden to speak with the press about the rapid changes being instituted under Scott Pruitt, a longtime enemy of the agency, whom Trump appointed as its secretary.
Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline reauthorized
Seeking to revive the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project, Donald Trump has issued an executive order designed to streamline the permitting process, directing the Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve in an expedited manner” the construction of the pipeline. Trump remains an investor in Energy Transfer Partners (the firm behind DAPL), even after taking office, having steadfastly refused to divest from his financial interests as is customary for presidents.
Financial penalties for sanctuary cities
The Trump administration announced that it will target “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from being detained and/or deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The president said he plans to instruct the secretary of Homeland Security to find ways to suspend federal grant money from cities with sanctuary policies. California sanctuary cities, led by Los Angeles and San Francisco, have vowed to stand up to the Trump Administration despite the potential monetary hardships that may result from the action.
U.S.- Mexico border wall
Donald Trump’s long-promised wall across the southern border of the United States appears to be moving forward following his signing of an executive order titled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.” Trump claims that the project, which is estimated to cost between $12-$15 billion, will initially be funded by U.S. tax dollars, but that Mexico will reimburse the United States at some unnamed future date. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is adamant that Mexico will not pick up the bill.
Temporary ban on immigrants from Islamic countries expected
A leaked draft report titled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” has revealed Donald Trump’s intentions to temporarily ban most refugees from entering the country. The new executive order would also block visas from being issued to citizens of seven majority Islamic countries including Syria, Libya, Iraq, Irani, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. The ban would remain in place until a more aggressive vetting process is established.