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article imageInternal memo details DHS plans for halting illegal immigration

By Karen Graham     Apr 13, 2017 in Politics
The Department of Homeland Security is in a rush to put plans into motion that would curtail illegal immigration, supposedly halting it in its tracks. Fast-tracking just 500 applicants will cost taxpayers over $100 million.
The DHS is well on its way to assembling what the Washington Post is calling a "deportation force" in response to President Trump's campaign promise to keep us safe from all those dangerous illegal immigrants.
Even though Trump's travel ban orders are tied up in federal courts, and the first lawsuit against the construction of the border wall has now been filed, these issues don't appear to have the DHS worried.
An internal Department of Homeland Security assessment obtained by The Washington Post shows the agency plans on hiring an additional 5,000 agents, among a number of other proposals. However, explains David Lapan, a DHS spokesman, the memo is only a “draft that hasn’t made it to the front office yet. Anything in it is subject to change.”
Some type of fence or barrier stopping people and vehicles from crossing north from Mexico into the ...
Some type of fence or barrier stopping people and vehicles from crossing north from Mexico into the US already spans nearly a third of the border
DAVID MCNEW, AFP
The most interesting proposal in the memo is the requirements for border patrol applicants. They have been lowered so that the hiring process will be faster. For example, DHS wants to do away with polygraphs tests for at least some of the applicants and eliminate part of the written entrance exam that tests applicant's Spanish language skills.
DHS explains that “few applicants fail the entrance exam solely because of these tests.” New agents will still have to obtain “the appropriate level of proficiency in Spanish” to graduate from the academy, the memo says, according to the New York Times.
As for physical fitness, the DHS now requires that to graduate from the academy, applicants must pass two physical fitness tests. The memo proposes that in order to hurry through applicants, only one test will be required to graduate, and if the applicant fails the first test, the applicant will “receive additional training.”
The proposed change in the hiring process is already being challenged. James Tomsheck, a former assistant commissioner for internal affairs at Customs and Border Protection says that lowering the standards to speed up the hiring process is ridiculous and will leave the agency vulnerable to corruption.
“I can’t see how this makes the border any more secure,” he said, calling the polygraph change “preposterous," he told the New York Times.
Motorists wait to cross the border bridge between Mexico and US at the Otay checkpoint on January 25...
Motorists wait to cross the border bridge between Mexico and US at the Otay checkpoint on January 25, 2017 in Tijuana, Mexico
MARIO VAZQUEZ, AFP/File
Looking at the bigger picture, the agency really doesn't have the necessary funding to support the hiring of 5,000 additional people, and right now, it takes 300 days, on average to process one hire, an improvement over the 469-day average in January 2016.
The agency also lacks the money to pay for the additional 21,000 beds they have found in 27 private and government facilities, even though illegal border crossings have fallen, leaving quite a number of beds in detention facilities empty. Of course, this is all going on even as President Trump continues to assert that Mexico is going to pay for his wall.
More about Dhs, internal memo, Illegal immigration, polygraph tests, no rush to pay for wall
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