A Wednesday report from The New York Times has revealed that President Donald Trump plans to use $20 million of taxpayer money to pay Mexico to deport illegal immigrants from Mexico.
What are the details?
The report noted that an administration notice to Congress outlined how it had intentions to allocate $20 million in foreign assistance funds to help Mexico pay for transportation to deport at least 17,000 people who are in Mexico illegally.
The money will reportedly be an assistance to force out Central Americans who attempt to enter Mexico, and later the southern U.S. border.
Katie Waldman, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said that the decision will ultimately help reduce the number of illegal immigrants into the U.S.
“We are working closely with our Mexican counterparts to confront rising border apprehension numbers — specifically, a 38-percent increase in families this month alone — directly and to ensure that those with legitimate claims have access to appropriate protections,” Waldman explained to the outlet.
The U.S. funds will reportedly come from the State Department, and will be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. From there, the funds will be sent to Mexico.
After receiving the funds, Mexico would be held responsible for detaining illegal immigrants and reviewing them prior to deportation. This would, in theory, likely help bolster the bogged down system in which the U.S. has to detain, review, and deport illegal immigrants that come from outside Mexico's borders and through the U.S.-Mexico border.
Not all lawmakers are on board with this move.
Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), who is the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, "Congress intended for this money to lift up communities dealing with crime, corruption and so many other challenges, not to expand this administration’s deportation crusade. I want answers about why the State Department thinks it can ignore Congress and dump more cash into deportation efforts. Until then, I’ll do whatever I can to stop this."
Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum said that the organization feels that the U.S. is simply passing the buck on cracking down on illegal immigration, calling the move "desperation."
"We shouldn’t be paying another country to do our dirty work; we should actually be fixing our immigration system and helping these countries get back on solid footing," Noorani said. "It smacks of desperation."
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told The Huffington Post that the Trump administration's plan is a "scandal."
"This is a scandal. At the start of hurricane season — when American citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still suffering from FEMA’s inadequate recovery efforts — the administration transferred millions of dollars away from FEMA ... And for what?" he asked. "To implement their profoundly misguided 'zero tolerance' policy."