According to a new report, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has detained a record number of people beyond its allocated budget, prompting questions about the Trump administration's transparency in the controversial program.
More than an average of 44,000 people are held in detention on a daily basis by ICE, according to recent statistics reported by the Daily Beast on Sunday.
The high number, which exceeds the total of ICE inmates Congress has allocated funds for by more than 4,000 people, has led to questions about how the Department of Homeland Security has been able to fund the project.
Senator Jeff Merkley has raised concern about ICE's funding, explaining that the Department of Homeland Security is known to use funds from other programs such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency when facing budgetary shortfalls for its ICE program.
“It is incredibly important that ICE explain how they’re paying for nearly 4,000 more beds. In September, when I discovered that ICE had been reprogramming FEMA dollars to pay for immigrant detention centers, I wasn’t given the information from the administration."
The senator further believes the move to signal a deliberate scheme by the government to avoid revealing too much information about the disputed ICE detentions.
“The plain fact is that the administration never wanted anyone to know how they were planning to pay to execute their plan. They used a mechanism that was never intended to see the light of day,”
Early last year, Trump signed an executive order to crack down on millions of immigrants living illegally in the US, pledging to deport as many as three million undocumented asylum seekers. The president has shown little tolerance for undocumented immigrants since taking office, promising to build a wall on the border with Mexico to stop migrant flow into the US.
Subsequently, ICE arrests increased by 40 percent during Trump’s first eight months in office, compared to the same period the previous year.
The detention and deportation of thousands of individuals, including minors, has led to many nation-wide protests in the US, blaming the government of inhumane treatment and human rights violations.