Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he rejects and condemns U.S. President Trump's plan to immediately begin construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a televised address Wednesday night, Peña Nieto said Mexico "does not believe in walls." His voice rising, Peña Nieto repeated his promise that Mexico "will not pay" for construction of a border barrier.
Peña Nieto is facing considerable pressure from other Mexican leaders to boycott a planned meeting with Trump in Washington next week.
President Trump declared Wednesday that he is restoring the rule of law, directing federal officials to begin work on a border wall and to retaliate against cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.
"A nation without borders is not a nation," Trump said in remarks at the Department of Homeland Security. "Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders."
Trump signed a pair of executive orders that begin implementing his core campaign promises: building a wall along the border with Mexico and cracking down on crime tied to the flow of illegal immigration.
Congressional Republicans opened their retreat in Philadelphia with lofty plans to address tax and health policy issues, but swiftly slipped off message, thanks to President Trump's latest announcements Wednesday.
But after conference chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) optimistically opened the event, giving nod to their location "steps away from where our founding fathers came together to form a new government," questions quickly turned to the White House.
Federal agents are reinvestigating the backgrounds of dozensof Syrian refugees already in the United States after discovering a lapse in vetting that allowed some who had potentially negative information in their files to enter the country, two U.S. law enforcement officials said.
Agents have not concluded that any of the refugees should have been rejected for entry, but the apparent glitch — which was discovered in late 2015 and corrected last year — prevented U.S. officials who conducted background checks on the refugees from learning about possible “derogatory” information about them, the two officials said. At a minimum, the intelligence would have triggered further investigation that could have led some asylum applications to be rejected.
The refugees whose cases are under review include one who failed a polygraph test when he applied to work at a U.S. military installation overseas and another who may have been in communication with an Islamic State leader, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
President Trump is preparing to take executive action that would target funding for so-called sanctuary cities, part of a series of moves he is considering announcing this week on immigration and national security.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of the new administration, telegraphed the sanctuary cities announcement during a speech Wednesday to the conservative Heritage Foundation. He called it a “common sense” action that would “drive the left crazy.”
The move would fulfill one of Trump's signature campaign promises: forcing police in such major jurisdictions as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago to work more closely with immigration officials and demand local jails hold people who are in the country illegally, even if they were cleared of criminal charges.
President Trump is considering lifting restrictions on harsh interrogations and renewing the use of secret overseas sites to hold terrorism suspects, both widely seen as dark chapters of the post-9/11 era, as he looks to follow through on his campaign promise to ramp up targeting of Islamic militants.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said he would bring back waterboarding and other harsh tactics that were part of the so-called enhanced interrogation program, which was installed after the Sept. 11 attacks and widely considered a stain on the CIA's record. A Senate Intelligence Committee report in 2014 concluded that the torture methods diminished U.S. standing in the world and failed to produce significant intelligence.
Aides have prepared executive actions to lift bans on both. The drafts were first reported by the New York Times.