Immigration Policy Reform - Trump Era


Following the Obama Administration's push for immigration policy reform, there has been a regression in terms of policy supporting immigrant rights due to the anti-immigrant stance of the Trump administration. The most damaging policies thus far have been President Trump's executive orders on immigration. 

Trump's first executive action on immigration, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States signed on January 25, 2017, seeks to widely expand interior immigration enforcement and to punish sanctuary cities. The order increases the jurisdiction of local and federal law enforcement, putting any unauthorized individuals at a risk of deportation. This order effectively rolls back any progress made by the Obama Administration relating to the safety and just treatment of immigrants in the United States. 

The next executive action, signed on the same day, specifically targets the US-Mexico border and attempts to follow through on Trump's campaign promise of building a wall along the entire border. This action not only seeks to build a costly wall along the border, but also increases detentions and border security as well as criminalizes non-violent offenses such as unlawful entry. This order would cost taxpayers over $1billion and would be extremely detrimental to immigrants and asylum seekers. 

The most contested of Trump's orders, Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, is currently being blocked by various courts on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. Even after signing a revised version in March, the order still discriminates against Muslims by banning entry into the US from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days and banning the entry of all refugees for 120 days. On June 26, 2017 the Supreme Court issued a decision allowing parts of the travel ban to take effect while they deliberate over a more final determination. 

The travel ban that is currently in place only permits members of the six predominantly-Muslim countries, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, who have a "bona fide" relationship with someone in the US to enter the country. This relationship has been defined as someone with a sibling, parent, child, spouse or fiancee, however does not include grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. Those with business or educational ties are also permitted to enter the country with a valid visa. 


The State Department has revised the definition of a "bona fide" relationship to include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws following an order from a federal judge in Hawaii who ruled that the original order too narrowly defined family members. This revised version went into effect on July 17, 2017 and was confirmed by the Supreme Court on July 19, 2017. The Supreme Court did not, however, agree to amend the travel ban to allow the 24,000 refugees, who have already been vetted by the United States, to enter the country. 

Trump's Executive Actions on Immigration 

This section provides information, analysis, resources and updates to the Executive Actions on Immigration announced throughout Trump's Administration. 

Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements 

Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States

Summary of Executive Order "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements"  American Immigration Council (February 27, 2017)

Know your Rights with Regards to Trump's Executive Orders American Immigration Lawyers Association

News updates:

House Democrats introduce legislation to protect TPS recipients at risk of Deportation Daily Kos (November 3, 2017)

Trump's Travel Ban: Where it Stands USA Today (July 18, 2017) 

Trump's Travel Ban has Just Hit Refugees. Here's What That Means for Those Hoping for Santuary in the U.S. Los Angeles Times (July 12, 2017) 

Trump Travel Ban Comes into Effect for Six Countries  British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (June 29,2017)

What the Supreme Court's Travel Ban Ruling Means The Washington Post (June 26, 2017)

Trump Loses Travel Ban Ruling in Appeals Court New York Times (June 12, 2017)

An Overview of President Trump's Executive Actions on Immigration American Action Forum (March 13, 2017) 

US President Donald Trump Signs New Travel Ban, Exempts Iraq Cable News Network (CNN) (March 7, 2017)

*Click here and here to read about Obama's Executive Action on Immigration


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Fair, Just, Humane Immigration Reform A snapshot of NNIRR's key proposals for immigration reform in the present round. Download the PDF.



As immigration reform emerges as a political priority, NNIRR has participated in a number of conversations and meetings with members and allies on principles and positions, or has endorsed position statements. Click here.


Over the years, NNIRR has taken consistent, rights-based positions on immigration policy and reform proposals. Click here to read and download key documents that reflect our principles and positions.


Go here to see congressional and White House immigration reform positions and documents.


In this section we share a variety of related and useful reports, position statements and reports from the immigrant rights movement and beyond. Click here.


Legislative advocacy CAN be a great community education and organizing vehicle. We encourage community organizers to check out this free download of our BRIDGE module:

Building Immigrant Community Power Through Legislative Advocacy

This workshop for BRIDGE was created as a tool for organizers, community groups, educators, activists and leaders to support our work to affect and shape the change we want to see. Focused on work at the federal level, the popular education elements of this module can easily be applied to our work at state and local levels. Developed by Rosita Choy and Eunice Cho with input and support from community groups, advocates and activists throughout the country.