The Trump administration's efforts to ramp up deportations is already well underway, according to internal documents obtained by the Washington Post.
The 90-day progress report on President Trump’s executive orders said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has identified 33,000 additional beds at 27 locations to hold greater numbers of immigrant detainees for deportation.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also discussing possible agreements with local and state police agencies that would allow them to enforce federal immigration laws on their behalf.
Federal officials are also looking at relaxing hiring practices in order to boost the ranks of Border Patrol agents and identified areas where they could begin building Trump’s border wall, the DHS reported.
Since taking office, Trump has signed executive orders that make almost all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US a priority for deportation. On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also ordered federal prosecutors to take a tougher stance against undocumented immigrants, cartels, and gang members.
Depending on how much funding is available in fiscal year 2017, US Customs and Border Protection will begin working on building 34 miles of border barrier systems in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, which is considered the highest priority for the federal authorities. The DHS also has its sights set on constructing 14 miles of border barrier in the San Diego Sector.
The document also discusses somehow reaching an international agreement to temporarily house undocumented immigrants in Mexico, even if they are not from there.
Two locations have also been identified for setting up immigration courts hearings at the border.
One option would include establishing a video teleconference system that allows immigration judges to hear cases remotely at a cost of $50,000 per location. The other would have the judges be physically present at the courts near the border at a cost of $400,000 per site.
The DHS report also put into stark terms the potential budget impact of Trump's executive order calling for the hiring of 5,000 Border Patrol agents, noting that adding 500 to the ranks would cost $100 million.
To help facilitate hiring such a large number of agents, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is looking at doing away with polygraph examinations for some applicants, and eliminating entrance examinations and physical fitness tests, according to the document.
CBP has already implemented an expedited hiring process that has reduced hiring time from 469 days in January 2016 to 300 days in March.
Adolfo Flores is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He focuses on immigration.
Contact Adolfo Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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