12 orders and counting: How President Trump's executive pen impacts Kentucky
President Trump's executive orders on immigration have stirred Louisville's growing immigrant community.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- President Trump has signed 12 executive orders, and he hasn't even been on the job a week.
Today WDRB examined the orders with the greatest potential impacts locally including who will be affected and how.
One-hundred and forty-nine people from 50 different countries came to Louisville's downtown library Thursday -- and they left as citizens of the same one, America.
Their faces told stories of joy, relief -- and for some -- concern.
"Amazing that it finally happened!" exclaimed 20-year-old Sam Tarfreshi, who was born in Iran, and moved to Kentucky with his mother six years ago.
"My life was miserable -- very difficult -- and if I think about it, I get tears in my eyes," said 31-year-old Mitra Subedi, who spent 19 years in a refugee camp in Nepal.
But 32-year-old Sandip Limbachia, who was born in India, is worried.
"Yeah, really because my mom and my brother are still in India, and I am worried about the paperwork for them because I know it's going to get more hard and more strict," Limbachia said.
President Trump's executive orders on immigration have stirred Louisville's growing immigrant community. Trump planted the first seeds for a wall along the country's border with Mexico, and ordered the hiring of 10,000 more immigration officers, threatening to pull federal funding from cities that don't work alongside them.
While the first orders focus on illegal residents, reports say this week the President may also suspend refugee resettlement from Muslim nations.
Taxes & Hiring Freeze
Kentucky appeared the poster child of the Affordable Care Act with the successful launch of its health exchange program Kynect. Then Governor Steve Beshear said roughly 400,000 more residents gained insurance due to the Obamacare law and the uninsured rate dropped to just six percent among the lowest nationally. But those adults who did not have insurance, thousands of them in Kentucky and across the country, faced financial penalties this year for non-coverage. Part of Trump's executive order on the ACA blocks those fees meaning those who couldn't afford insure won't have to pay a penalty for not having it.
"Trump seems to be determined to make good on campaign promises," said University of Louisville political science professor Dewey Clayton.
Professor Clayton says President Trump's federal hiring freeze will also touch the Commonwealth..
"It will slow down government processes, no doubt about it: people looking to get social security checks, a lot of things slow down because you will have less workers to do them," Clayton said.
But the biggest impact may be felt among the 149 new citizens -- like Sandip Limbachia -- who are excited to have a chance to live the American dream, and say they're happy they achieved it in time.
"I feel great," said Limbachia. "I feel honor, and just relief. I know I just can't express -- just overwhelmed."
Kentucky is among the top states in the country for refugee resettlement, and Louisville takes the most. The city's immigrant population is approximately 100,000 people.
Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.