As president, Donald Trump will have broad power to follow through on many of his campaign pledges regarding immigration—with or without help from Congress, reports USA Today. “Generally speaking, any president has wide discretion when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws because immigration touches on national sovereignty,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell professor and immigration law expert. The first, and possibly easiest, change Trump can make is redirecting the Department of Homeland Security to ramp up deportations. At the beginning of the campaign, Trump said all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country must go. In the closing months, he talked more about deporting immigrants with criminal records — “bad hombres” — and opened the possibility of finding a way for some to remain in the country.
Trump said Sunday on CBS 60 Minutes that he plans to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Trump said he would emphasize criminals before deciding about law-abiding families legally in the country. He would need congressional approval to hire more federal agents to round up immigrants. But he doesn’t need any new funding to change the focus of immigration enforcement, said Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum. “If the Department of Homeland Security secretary greenlights, simply in tone, the ramping up of enforcement actions, that is a system that can wreak havoc very, very quickly,” Noorani said. Trump could unilaterally revoke the deportation protections President Obama created under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. More than 840,000 young undocumented immigrants have been approved for that program, which protects them from deportation for two-year periods and grants them work permits.