ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
President Trump is in Arizona today. His first stop is a Customs and Border Protection facility just a few miles from the southwest border, then a campaign rally. He's holding it at the same Phoenix Convention Center where last year, he outlined his plans to fight illegal immigration. Joining us now to talk about what the Trump White House has accomplished on immigration and what it has not is NPR's Joel Rose. Hey, Joel.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.
SHAPIRO: Looking back on Trump's speech in Phoenix last year, what stands out to you?
ROSE: Well, it was full of specific policy proposals. A lot of what the Trump administration has tried to roll out or rolled out on immigration is right there in that speech. Trump laid out a 10-point plan. And right at the top was the border wall.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall.
SHAPIRO: And Joel, has he kept that promise?
ROSE: Well, seven months in, construction on the wall has not begun. In that speech last year, Trump said that Mexico would pay for the wall, quote, "100 percent," unquote. You do not hear the administration talking publicly much about that anymore. Mexico, of course, says it will not pay for the wall. And Congress doesn't seem to be in much of a rush either. The House has appropriated $1.6 billion for the first stage of construction. But the Senate is expected to reduce that amount.
SHAPIRO: Something else the president talked about last year was hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents. Has that happened?
ROSE: That is off to a slow start as well. The Border Patrol actually has fewer agents right now than it did when President Trump took office in January. And I should say this is not a brand new story for the Border Patrol. It's struggled with high attrition rates. And it can take a long time to hire agents. The White House is seeking money for more Border Patrol agents, as you say, and also for additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
But Congress has not approved money for those requests either.
SHAPIRO: What about the Trump administration taking credit for a drop in the number of people apprehended at the southwest border since President Trump took office? Fact check that for us.
ROSE: Well, the numbers are definitely down. For the first seven months of the year, there's been a 46 percent drop in the number of apprehensions at the southwest border, according to a Department of Homeland Security official. But I should note that this is part of a long-term trend that apprehensions at the border have been mostly falling for the past 15 years or so. Still, there was a really steep drop off from when you compare the end of 2016 to the first half of 2017.
Also, the Trump administration has been removing more undocumented immigrants from inside the country. ICE says arrests are up more than 40 percent for the first half of the year.
SHAPIRO: President Trump also promised in Phoenix that he would cancel President Obama's executive orders on immigration. What's the status of that?
ROSE: Well, Trump didn't actually say one of these executive actions by name in Phoenix. But it seemed that the one that he was talking about was DACA. That's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protects undocumented immigrants who came into the country as children. It protects them from deportation and allows them to get work permits. There are roughly $800,000 DACA recipients around the country. So far, the Trump administration has not gotten rid of DACA, even though the administration is definitely under pressure to do that from immigration hardliners.
And Texas and several other states are kind of trying to force the issue. They're threatening to sue if the administration doesn't pull its support for DACA before September 5. So the administration is going to have to make a decision on that and fairly soon.
SHAPIRO: So it sounds as though when you look at the scorecard on immigration promises, a lot of these items, so far, are incomplete.
ROSE: I think you'd have to say that. I mean, there have been some wins, I think the administration would say, for example, the drop in apprehensions at the border. But the big ticket items, the border wall, more Border Patrol agents, ICE agents, a lot of that still depends on funding from Congress. And that has not materialized.
SHAPIRO: NPR's Joel Rose. Thanks a lot.
ROSE: You're welcome.
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