A leaked internal Department of Homeland Security assessment on "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements," reveals some of the ways the Trump administration is considering improving border security and deportation efforts. Or to put it more dramatically, as the clearly worried Washington Post does, the assessment shows the new administration working furiously to "assemble the nationwide deportation force" promised by Donald Trump during the campaign.
The Post breathlessly highlights a few of the key steps outlined in the assessment thus far taken by the administration, including having "found 33,000 more detention beds to house undocumented immigrants, opened discussions with dozens of local police forces that could be empowered with enforcement authority and identified where construction of Trump’s border wall could begin."
The assessment also indicates that the agency may be speeding up the hiring process of Customs and Border Patrol officers, potentially "ending polygraph and physical fitness tests in some cases."
Despite the fears of the ominously styled "national deportation force," however, Congress has already signaled that the costs of some of the administration's more ambitious ideas are likely to prevent them from ever being realized. The assessment is also simply a preliminary look at possible ways of improving what the Obama administration deliberately left as an impotent, inefficient agency that spent more time figuring out ways to neglect its purposes than carrying them out for the protection of the American people.
But, of course, immigration advocates are up in arms about any attempts by the Trump administration to enforce federal immigration laws, insisting that efforts to ramp up deportations are a waste of money and unfairly break up families through supposed "mass deportations," which the administration has made clear it has no intention of carrying out.
For good measure, the Post cites immigration advocate Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center to sound the alarm over the internal assessment documents, which she said prove that the administration "very much is interested in setting up that mass deportation infrastructure and creating the levers of a police state."
So far, Trump's efforts to "Build the Wall" have not gained much momentum, Republican House leadership recently cutting the president's request for $1.4 billion to start the first section out of the budget (read more here.) Whether the GOP will back some of his administration's other initiatives, remains to be seen.