President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has requested documents and analysis from the Department of Homeland Security on aspects of border security and immigration policy he intends to change when he steps into the White House.
Reuters reports that Trump’s team has requested information about border wall and barrier construction, immigrant detention, an aerial surveillance program President Obama drastically cut, and every last executive order on immigration Obama signed over the past eight years.
The requests were made in a Dec. 5 meeting between Trump’s transition team and Department of Homeland Security officials, according to an internal agency memo reviewed by Reuters. The document offers a glimpse into the president-elect’s strategy for securing the U.S. borders and reversing polices put in place by the Obama administration.
In response to the transition team request, U.S. Customs and Border Protection staffers identified more than 400 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border, and about the same distance along the U.S.-Canada border, where new fencing could be erected, according to a document seen by Reuters.
One program the transition team asked about, according to the email summary, 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.
The program once deployed 6,000 airmen under President George W. Bush but was downsized by Barack Obama, a move blasted by some conservatives who argue the surveillance is vital to border security.
The request for this type of information implies that Trump is committed to carrying out his promise of “making America safe again,” and signals that immigration and national security policies may change dramatically at the beginning of his presidency.
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