On Tuesday, an exclusive report from Reuters revealed that President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team had requested documents and analysis from the Department of Homeland Security in order to “assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction.”
According to an internal memo that was reviewed by Reuters, Trump’s team reportedly also sought information from the department regarding immigrant detention, an aerial surveillance program that was downsized by President Obama, and whether or not federal workers have altered biographic information about immigrants. The transition team also asked for copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009.
The original requests were made on December 5, during a meeting between Trump’s team and Homeland Security officials.
Among other documents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection provided Trump’s team with information about locations where new border fencing could be built. Officials specifically identified “more than 400 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the same distance along the U.S.-Canada border.”
Department officials who attended the meeting with Trump’s team have suggested that, in addition to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump is now looking into erecting an additional barrier between the U.S. and Canada, something he originally thought was not necessary.
A report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimated that a northern border wall would cost $3.3 billion and would cover 452 miles along the border between Canada and the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
This northern barrier would be significantly cheaper than the barricades that Trump has proposed along the southern border. Southern border fencing would cost an estimated $11.37 billion to cover 413 miles.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump campaigned hard on the promise of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all undocumented immigrants. After his victory, though, Trump appeared to flip flop a bit when it came to actually following through on his promises regarding immigration.
Trump has struggled particularly when it comes to deciding what to do about “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children. At one point, Trump vowed to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which President Barack Obama started in 2012. However, he backtracked on this promise somewhat after his victory, saying that he wanted to “work something out” for Dreamers.
Trump has not explained further exactly what it is that he wants to work out, but many are worried that his team’s requests for information about immigrants’ records may be intended to specifically target Dreamers.
Based on the nature of the information they requested, Trump’s team appears to be working hard to get a firm grasp on the work President Obama has done over the last eight years regarding immigration. However, it’s unclear at this time exactly what Trump and his team are planning to do with the information.
Neither anyone from Trump’s transition team nor a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection has responded to inquiries from Reuters about these requests.
Featured image via DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images.