When crafting the Constitution, the framers were intent on distributing the power amongst the three branches of government so no one branch could claim power over the others, avoiding what they had experienced in monarchical Great Britain. So it may surprise many Americans how much power executive orders hold when exercised by presidents. An executive order is “a rule or order issued by the president to an executive branch of the government and having the force of law.” The president has the power to undo legislation that has been in place for years, just by signing one of the orders. Since he’s been in office, President Trump has signed four executive orders, some which address issues that came up on his campaign and others which are intended to undo much of former President Obama’s work. Other executive actions include presidential memoranda, which aren’t as legally forceful as executive orders and can be reversed by another memoranda or order. Orders are more powerful than memoranda.
Just hours after being inaugurated, Trump signed an executive order attempting to reverse some aspects of Obamacare. The order is designed to reduce the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act. This is only a temporary measure, however, as Trump will need to take several more steps and get them passed through Congress if he wants to dismantle Obamacare completely. This is a preliminary action, as Trump hopes to replace the system with his own universal health care. Trump’s second order called for speeding up the processes of reviewing the environmental effects of certain infrastructure projects. This order fulfills another campaign promise of Trump’s to spend more on new infrastructure, yet Trump will need Congress’s approval for any spending.
Trump’s third executive order addresses one of the most infamous of issues that came up during his campaign: the wall. The order called for the development of a 1900 mile wall along the Mexican border with the use of federal funding to begin the project. In addition, the order called for 5000 more border officers to be added to the border. The vague order doesn’t exactly detail where the funds for the wall will come from and, of course, Congress would need to approve any federal spending. Such a massive construction project could add many jobs to the region thus boosting its economy. Trump’s final order addresses the issue of undocumented immigrants. The order calls for the addition of 10,000 immigration officers to deport these undocumented immigrants. It also addresses “sanctuary cities,” cities or institutions that choose not to reveal undocumented immigrants to the government through their own policies. It would threaten to refuse funding of the sanctuaries continued to withhold information about the undocumented immigrants. So far President Trump seems to be addressing everything he promised he would during his campaign. We’ll have to wait and see if he follows through on his numerous other campaign promises in the years to come.