WASHINGTON: Donald Trump is to trigger his plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, in a symbolic move to follow through on one of the signature pledges of his populist campaign for the White House. The new US president is expected on Wednesday to issue an executive order directing the government to use funds to start construction. US media reported that Mr Trump would sign the order during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security whose secretary, retired general John Kelly, was confirmed last Friday. The wall is one of several immigration and border security measures expected to be announced on Wednesday, as the president moves to implement his controversial anti-immigrant agenda. Mr Trump on Tuesday hinted at the move, tweeting: “Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!” The president shocked the world when he launched his election campaign by calling for the wall and describing Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers. His effort to start building comes a week before Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto visits Washington. Mr Trump insisted during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall – a claim rejected by the Mexican government. Since his election, however, Mr Trump has retreated, saying the US taxpayer will initially pay for the construction but will later be reimbursed by Mexico.
The moves on Wednesday will boost the number of measures Mr Trump has taken in his first week to fulfil promises made on the campaign trail on issues from immigration to jobs to trade. On Monday he withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and will soon formally inform Mexico and Canada that he wants to renegotiate the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement. Mr Trump is also expected this week to reveal measures that would temporarily block refugees from Syria and other countries in the Middle East. Religious minorities fleeing those countries, notably Christians, would be exempted.