Real American Policy Changes Under Trump Administration

The Trump administration has made sweeping changes to the American policy landscape since taking office. From immigration reform to tax cuts, it’s been an eventful four years. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most significant policy changes that have happened under the Trump Administration and how they have impacted real Americans.

1. Imposing a Ban on Chinese-Made Drones

In response to the military-industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China, the Trump administration imposed a ban on Chinese-made drones, ordering U.S. government agencies to stop using more than 800 drones that previously helped to facilitate their operations. Chinese drone manufacturer and market-dominant Dajiang Innovations (DJI) donated at least 100 of its small unmanned aerial vehicles in 2020, but this was not enough to stop Congress from passing a measure that would impose a five-year ban on U.S. government purchases of drones manufactured or assembled in China, which enjoys bipartisan support. President Donald Trump also signed an executive order directing U.S. agencies to assess any security risks from Chinese-made drones in order to ensure the safety and security of American citizens.

2. Rolling Back Rules on Sexual Harassment

The Trump Administration finalized new Title IX campus sexual assault regulations which raised the bar of proof for sexual misconduct and bolstered victim protections to combat sexual discrimination in schools by modifying language to include sexual orientation and gender identity. These regulations adopted the Supreme Court’s definition of sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive”—a higher standard than in similar proceedings under other civil rights laws. However, the Education Department determined that Title IX does not give it authority to cover sexual misconduct in study abroad programs, and the Administration also rescinded guidance in 2017 which declared that informal resolution could be used in sexual assault cases. This proposed rule aims to ensure that no person experiences sex discrimination, sex-based harassment or is otherwise denied educational opportunities due to their gender.

3. Cracking Down on Robocalls

The Trump Administration has worked to crack down on robocalls, signing a law that increases fines on criminal robocall violations and expands the power of the Federal Communications Commission. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission and 25 state and local agencies announced their own crackdown on illegal robocalls in June, and the amount of robocalls in one year rose to 4.3 billion, with around 30 percent of those being scams. These efforts demonstrate the Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing the scourge of unwanted calls and protecting American consumers from fraud.

4. Letting States Restrict Abortion Access

In addition to allowing states to restrict abortion access, the Trump Administration has enacted a number of policies that have had a direct impact on reproductive health and rights. These include passing a ban on Chinese-made drones, rolling back rules on sexual harassment, cracking down on robocalls, tightening borders and reducing refugee admissions, instituting a sweeping travel ban, signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, separating families at the US-Mexico border, outlining principles for regulating the U.S. financial system, and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Trump Administration has also seen the largest number of abortion restrictions enacted in a calendar year since 2013, and recently adopted a new policy that prohibits Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) staff and staff employed by any ORR-funded provider from providing information or referrals for abortion services.

5. Tightening Borders and Reducing Refugee Admissions

The Trump administration has taken a hard-line stance on immigration, tightening borders and reducing the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. Under President Donald Trump, the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. was drastically cut and a ban was put in place on refugees from certain countries. In addition, the administration began denying asylum requests from migrants at the southern border who had traveled through Mexico or another country. The Trump administration also sought to ban all refugee admissions for 120 days and outlined principles for regulating the U.S. financial system. These hard-line policies have caused an unprecedented decline in refugee resettlement in the United States.

6. Instituting a Sweeping Travel Ban

In January 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order that instituted a sweeping travel ban targeting foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The order was met with immediate legal challenges and was eventually superseded by a second executive order. In 2020, the Trump administration further tightened visa restrictions on six additional countries—Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania—citing screening and security concerns. This period has seen bans on travel and a pause on visa issuance for certain groups of foreign nationals, further closing off the U.S. to visitors from around the world.

7. Signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

In December 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a sweeping reform of the U.S. tax code that reduced federal tax rates for households across every income level while increasing the share of tax paid by the top 1 percent. The TCJA cut individual income tax rates, doubled the standard deduction, increased the child tax credit, slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, and eliminated some deductions. These changes are expected to have a significant impact on American households, businesses, and the overall economy.

8. Separating Families at the US-Mexico Border

The Trump administration’s family separation policy was a major policy change that had a significant impact on the United States. Under the policy, federal authorities separated children and infants from parents or guardians with whom they had entered the US. The adults were prosecuted and the children were sent to “foster care or whatever” while their parents were sent to detention centers. The separation policy, called zero tolerance, was created during the Trump administration, mandating that parents across the southern border be separated from their children. This inhumane policy resulted in the separation of over 5000 children from their parents, with no tracking process or reunification plan in place. Today we recognize this regrettable policy as an example of real American policy changes under the Trump administration.

9. Outlining Principles for Regulating the U.S. Financial System

On February 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order setting forth “Core Principles” intended to guide the regulation of the U.S. financial system. This order outlines changes to a few immigration policies, but most notably strips away many of the protections against financial abuse that were put in place during the Obama era. The proposed amendments will restore crucial protections for consumers and investors, while also providing more flexibility for U.S. businesses to compete globally. Additionally, the order calls for a 120-day review of existing laws and regulations concerning the financial system, and seeks to promote competition within the American economy. The President hopes that this will help promote economic growth and long-term prosperity for all Americans.

10. Building a Wall Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

The Trump administration has made a significant effort to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, with Donald Trump famously claiming he would make Mexico pay for it if elected. In reality, the administration has identified approximately $15 billion to construct more than 700 miles of new wall system, and as of October 23, 2020, construction has already completed 455 miles of the border. The wall is not only expensive in terms of capital, but it has also been a humanitarian challenge for years due to the separation of families that have been affected by it. Nonetheless, these efforts have been supplemented by US military troops sent to the border and a crackdown on illegal immigration both at the US-Mexico border and elsewhere in the country.

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