Report: Trump Team Asks DHS Whether Staff Altered Immigrants’ Information

AP

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team asked the Department of Homeland Security whether any immigrants’ records had been changed for any reason, according to a Reuters report out Tuesday.

Reuters reported, citing an internal DHS memo, that Trump’s transition team asked during a Dec. 5 meeting with agency officials whether any records of immigrants to the United States had been changed, including out of “civil liberties concerns.”

An unnamed DHS official told Reuters that the agency interpreted the request from Trump’s team to mean they were ensuring federal workers did not tamper with information to prevent people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and other immigrants, from deportation.

Some have argued that the DACA program enacted by President Barack Obama has created a database from which the incoming Trump administration may target undocumented youth for deportation.

Trump’s transition team also reportedly requested information about resources available for border walls and fences, as well as about an aerial surveillance program on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Reuters reported that in response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection prepared a report on adding 413 miles of border fencing to the southern border, which it said would cost $11.37 billion, as well as to the northern border with Canada, which it said would cost $3.3 billion across 452 miles of additional fencing. The price discrepancy, according to the internal DHS memo obtained by Reuters, was due to the southern border preventing foot crossings as well as vehicles.

Both during the campaign and after Election Day, some Republicans have argued that Trump’s proposed border wall was more a figurative appeal for border security. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), for example, said the wall would be “virtual.”

Trump’s transition team did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment, nor did a spokesman for DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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