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Trump Administration Creating Deportation Force

The administration of President Donald Trump is moving to establish a nationwide deportation force, according to an internal document published April 12.

The Washington Post reported that the Department of Homeland Security intends to have available 33,000 detention beds for holding undocumented immigrants and plans to hire additional personnel.

Expedited hiring practices could see the abandonment of lie-detector tests and physical fitness exams for applicants hoping to become a Customs and Border Protection officer.

The DHS has also discussed giving powers to enforce federal immigration law to an increased number of local police forces, under a program called 287(g).

The document goes on to outline how DHS is identifying where Trump's promised border wall could be constructed, with plans to have a prototype ready by July.

The first sections of the wall would be built in the Rio Grande Valley, which the DHS describes in the report as a "highest priority area," and in San Diego.

A DHS spokeswoman told the Post that she refused to comment on "pre-decisional documents."

These initiatives could be held up due to funding problems. Congress will have to approve funding for the construction of the wall before it can proceed, and this could be blocked by political opponents.

"We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York and four fellow Democrats wrote in a letter to the Republican Senate leadership.

The reference was to a spending bill that the Senate must pass by April 28 in order to prevent a government shutdown.

Immigrant Advocacy groups have also protested the hiring of two individuals by DHS with close ties to anti-immigrant groups.

Julie Kirchner, former director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and Jon Feere, who worked as a legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, have been hired as advisers to acting CBP Director Kevin McAleenan and acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan, respectively.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes CIS and FAIR as "anti-immigrant hate groups," according to the Hill.

J. Kevin Appleby, senior director at the Center for Migrant Studies, pointed out that the numbers crossing the border were down under Trump, and he questioned the need for the administration to spend so much money on deportations.

"Up to now, they have really been using scare tactics to put on a show, to demonstrate to supporters they are tough on immigration," added Appleby, the Post reported. "Eventually, they really have to produce results. Without congressional approval [for funding], they will not reach the deportation numbers under Obama. That will be the test. If in the first year, if there are not a significant number deported, how will they distinguish themselves from the previous administration?"

Sources: Washington Post, the Hill / Photo credit: Office of the President-elect/Wikimedia Commons

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