Trump’s first weeks in office: Immigration, economy are among top concerns

By Marisa Goglia
Copy Editor

At 11:59 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, when Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America and immediately set the tone for his administration with a flurry of hyperbole and action.

Thus far in Trump’s first 100 days he has worked at a consistent pace on putting pen to paper on a plethora of executive orders. Through the hallways and cafeterias at County College of Morris these orders have sparked conversation.

Mark Washburne, an associate professor of history and political science at CCM, said it is not unheard of for a president to take swift action once entering office.

“Most presidents try to get things done in their first 100 days when their popularity is usually at its peak,” Washburne said.

Washburne cited Franklin D. Roosevelt as a president who took advantage of those first 100 days in 1933.  

“During FDR’s first days in office,” Washburne said. “FDR along with Congress enacted legislation to deal with some of the problems the nation was facing during the Great Depression.”

Serving three consecutive terms in office, FDR managed to sign 3,721 executive orders. That is more than any other president, according to the American Presidency Project, a database of presidential documents hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara.  During President Barack Obama’s first two weeks in office he signed a total of eight executive orders in 2009 and his successor is following a similar path with a current total of eight actions, according to the LA Times.

A few of Trump’s orders brought to fruition include, defunding sanctuary cities, increasing border security and to begin construction on a U.S.-Mexico border, according to FOX News.

Construction on the U.S.-Mexico border was a prominent campaign promise made by Trump during his campaign for president last year.

“I think Trump is doing a pretty good job,” said Billy Gleason, an information technology major at CCM. “Trump has come through with just about everything that he said, whether it’s building the wall, he’s putting that in place…I believe something needs to be done about immigration in this country”

With the U.S.-Mexico border stretching 2,000 miles long, Trump is concentrating on erecting a wall towards the southern border, according to CNBC. While a cost has not yet been announced, it may cost up to $21.6 billion according to Reuters.

Wyatt Wiegman, a liberal arts major at CCM, would also like to see Trump deal with immigration, but he finds the funds for the wall should be allocated towards another area.

“I would like to see Trump deal with immigration,” Wiegman said. “But not in the way that he is doing it by building a wall. To me, building a wall seems like a waste of taxpayer money. Most immigrants are not coming in through the border, they are coming in through flights and boats. Trump should go through the airports and find a way to check for fake passports and visas”

On Jan. 27, Trump signed another executive order pertaining to immigration that has ignited conversations on both sides of the aisle.  The action states for 120 days the U.S. Refugee Admission Program is suspended and anyone arriving from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen face a 90-day visa suspension, according to the British Broadcasting Company.

“Presidents have done this before from Bush to Reagan,” Gleason said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable that Trump put the suspension in place just to try to figure out what to do with the problem. The countries that Trump has listed, there have been known terrorists that have come from these countries. It is not like these people are not allowed to come to America. You can still come to America; you just have to go through an interview process and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. My mother came from England and my father is from Ireland and they came through the right way.”

Wiegman said his main argument is the United States of America is a country established on immigrants and feels President Trump acted hastily.

“I’m not a big fan because we are a country based and built off immigrants,” Wiegman said. “We can’t really deny a group that are being religiously persecuted in their own countries and are seeking to get away from that… I think President Trump should have made this order more specific. I don’t exactly agree with the way it’s worded. I do agree that Trump is trying to make it work, but it’s turning away a lot of people who don’t deserve to be turned away.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of people surveyed say that defending the country from terrorism and 73 percent of people surveyed say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress.

Gleason who is currently serving in the Navy reserves applauded one of Trump’s first executive orders where he imposed a federal hiring freeze.

“Trump stopped civilian employment and is continuing with military,” Gleason said.  “I can still get a federal job. A lot of the civilians that were hired were under qualified, whereas you have military personnel who are still trying to find jobs and this will just give them a great opportunity.”

Trump stated that he vows to create 25 million jobs during his years as president, according to his campaign site.

Gleason said Trump’s job creation goal is not out of reach while he president.

“I do believe Trump will bring jobs in,” Gleason said. “Stopping certain trade from other countries and bringing it back to America whether it will be steelwork or in another way.” However, Washburne said there are positives and negatives to Trump renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, a trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico which eliminates tariffs on imported and exported goods, according to the Business Insider.

“Free trade agreements have been good for our country’s economy as a whole,” Washburne said.  “This is not to say that free-trade agreements are not without their faults. NAFTA did lead to some manufacturing jobs leaving our country for Mexico, where the cost of labor was cheaper. On the other hand, the agreement also helped create a stronger middle class in Mexico, who went on to buy other American goods that were of a higher technology and profitability for our companies…It is in the best interest of the United States to see Mexico and other Latin American countries succeed. When these countries succeed, people find jobs in their own country and do not try to enter our country without proper documentation.”

While Trump’s first weeks in office have come, and gone, one will have to wait and see what the next four years will bring.

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