Trump transition team laying groundwork for the wall with Homeland Security

by WorldTribune Staff, January 4, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an assessment of “all assets available for border wall and barrier construction,” according to a report.

The request was made in a Dec. 5 meeting between Trump’s transition team and DHS officials, according to an internal agency memo reviewed by Reuters.

President-elect Donald Trump said his administration will build a "real" wall that "actually looks good." /AP
President-elect Donald Trump said his administration will build a “real” wall that “actually looks good.” /AP

Officials estimated it would cost $11.37 billion to build a barrier to prevent both vehicles and people from crossing the border. That cost estimate is in line with Trump’s proposed wall, which he said would be at least 35 feet high and cost anywhere from $8 billion to $12 billion.

Trump has said he will build a “real” wall made of pre-cast concrete that “actually looks good.”

According to the Reuters report, Trump’s transition team also requested “copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009.”

The president-elect has vowed to undo Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including a 2012 order to allow children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the country on temporary authorizations that allow them to attend college and work.

The program, known as DACA, collected information including participants’ addresses that could theoretically be used to locate and deport them if the policy is reversed.

Another request of the transition team was for information about whether any migrant records have been changed for any reason, including for civil rights or civil liberties concerns, according to the internal memo seen by Reuters.

One specific program the transition team inquired about, according to the Reuters report, was Operation Phalanx, an aerial surveillance program that authorizes 1,200 Army National Guard airmen to monitor the southern border for drug trafficking and illegal migration.

Operation Phalanx once deployed 6,000 airmen under President George W. Bush but was downsized by Obama, a move that was highly criticized by several Republicans who said the surveillance is vital to border security.

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