The new US president is also expected, in the coming days, to limit legal immigration, including making executive orders restricting refugees and blocking the issuing of visas to people from several Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Yemen.
Trump signed two executive orders at the Department of Homeland Security yesterday. One ordered the construction of a wall along the roughly 2,000-mile US-Mexico border and the other moving to strip federal grant money from “sanctuary” states and cities, which harbour illegal immigrants.
In cities such as San Francisco, local officials refuse to co-operate with federal authorities on actions against illegal immigrants.
“The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidise this disregard for our laws,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer, adding that the wall would “stem the flow of drugs, crime, [and] illegal immigration”.
Spicer also said the president’s directives would end the practice of “catch and release”, in which authorities apprehend illegal immigrants, but do not immediately detain or deport them. He said they would create more detention space for illegal immigrants along the border to make it easier and cheaper to detain and deport them.
The Trump administration is preparing a review of how the US conducts the war on terror, including a possible resumption of banned interrogation methods, according to a draft executive order.
The order, obtained by The Associated Press, could also lead to the reopening of CIA-run “black site” prisons outside the US and would also instruct the Pentagon to send newly captured “enemy combatants” to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, instead of closing the detention facility, as President Barack Obama had wanted.
The three-page document instructs top national security officers to “recommend to the president whether to reinitiate a programme of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the US and whether such a programme should include the use of detention facilities” operated by the CIA.
The document says US laws should be obeyed at all times and it explicitly rejects “torture”.
However, in an interview on ABC, Trump was asked about waterboarding as an intelligence-gathering tool and said: “Absolutely, I feel it works,” but he said he would defer to his Cabinet on whether to use it.
"He said he would rely on the advice of CIA Director Mike Pompeo and US Defense Secretary James Mattis, among others, about using the illegal technique.
“And if they don’t want to do it, that’s fine. If they do want to do it, then I will work toward that end. I want to do everything within the bounds of what we’re allowed to do, if it’s legal.”
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, the Trump administration is preparing executive orders that would clear the way to drastically reduce the US role in the UN and other international organisations, as well as begin a process to review and potentially “abrogate” certain forms of multilateral treaties.