Doug Mills photo at The New York Times. Caption: “United States Border Patrol agents listened to President Trump at the Department of Homeland Security in January. Mr. Trump plans to increase the number of agents along the Mexican border.”
The Trump administration’s 2018 budget request for Homeland Security includes $1.57 billion to build 74 miles of new border wall/fence in south Texas and near San Diego, California. (That’s $21.2 million per mile.) It would also fund the hiring of 500 new Border Patrol agents (toward an eventual goal of 5,000, expanding the force to 25,000) and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement and removal agents (toward an eventual goal of 10,000, expanding the deportation force to about 15,000).
ICE’s apprehensions of undocumented migrants in the U.S. interior shot up 38 percent in the first three months of the Trump administration, compared with the same period in 2016. This owes to less focus on undocumented people with criminal record. The 41,318 people detained, or 400 people per day, is still a lower rate than ICE detentions during Barack Obama’s first term. (They declined afterward.)
The Washington Post’s Joshua Partlow explores the reduction in migration to the United States after Trump’s inauguration. He finds that many would-be migrants from Central America, including those fleeing violence, are putting their plans on hold to see how Trump’s hard-line approach plays out. Others are coming, but no longer seeking out U.S. border authorities once they arrive on U.S. soil.
The New York Times’s Ron Nixon looks at corruption in U.S. Border Patrol, a phenomenon that could worsen if hiring standards are loosened to speed an expansion of the force. Nixon discusses the well-known case case of Texas-based agent Joel Luna, an emblematic example of the corruption risk.