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The Transportation Security Administration plans to use loose change left in trays at airports to partly fund the $232 million that its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, has requested to help pay for border operations if Congress doesn’t agree to its $1.1 billion funding request.

The TSA is just one of almost two dozen agencies under the DHS umbrella, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that could be forced to dole out millions of dollars from their budgets to pay for the ramped-up operations along the United States’ southern border.

“The Department is considering all options to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News. “We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem.”

The spokesperson added: “As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress.”

TSA CAN NOW FORCE TRAVELERS TO TAKE FULL-BODY SCANS

According to internal TSA emails and a PowerPoint presentation from last week, which were obtained by NBC News, the agency has outlined a plan on how to handle the “tax” the DHS could levy upon it. Along with using the $3 million in loose change found in airport trays across the country, the TSA would use $50 million set aside to purchase advanced airport screening equipment and $64 million from a worker’s compensation fund set up in 2010 for injured TSA employees.

The TSA is also considering using funding for Transportation Security Officers – who run security screenings at airports – to pay the DHS in a move that could add to the already lengthy wait times for travelers at the nation’s airports during the busy summer travel season.

President Trump has asked Congress for $4.5 billion dollars to deal with the influx of migrants from Central America crossing over the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico – with $1.1 billion set aside specifically for “border operations.” The White House argues that this money will be used for “personnel expenses, additional detention beds, and operations combating human smuggling and trafficking.”

Trump’s border wall plan has been met with fierce resistance from Democrats and has become ensnared in a number of legal battles.

TRUMP DEFENDS NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION AT MEXICO BORDER, SAYS DEMS ‘DON’T MIND CRIME’

A federal judge in Oakland last week heard arguments in two lawsuits seeking to block the White House from spending money from the Defense and Treasury departments for the project. California and 19 other states brought one lawsuit; the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the other.

The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. to block the shifting of funds and construction on the wall. They want a quick decision, arguing that some of the Pentagon-funded projects could begin in eight days.

In another case, a federal judge in Washington on Thursday will consider a bid by the House to prevent Trump from spending any Defense Department money for a border wall. At stake is billions of dollars that would allow Trump to make major progress on his signature campaign promise heading into his campaign for a second term.

The president’s adversaries say the emergency declaration was an illegal attempt to ignore Congress, which authorized far less wall spending than Trump wanted. Trump grudgingly accepted congressional approval of $1.375 billion to end a 35-day government shutdown on Feb. 15 and declared the emergency in almost the same breath.

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The White House says it has identified up to $8.1 billion that it could spend on the project.

Trump’s actions “amount to a usurpation of Congress’ legislative powers in violation of bedrock separation of powers principles embedded in the Constitution,” the state attorneys general wrote in their lawsuit. The administration argues that Trump is protecting national security as unprecedented numbers of Central American asylum-seeking families arrive at the U.S. border.

The Defense Department has already transferred $1 billion to border wall coffers in March and another $1.5 billion last week. Patrick Shanahan, acting defense secretary, may decide as soon as Wednesday whether to transfer an additional $3.6 billion.

The DHS last week also waived environmental impact and other reviews to replace sections of wall in California and Arizona under a law that gives the secretary sweeping powers to plan construction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Former acting ICE director Thomas Homan took Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to task Sunday for her immigration comments and politicians like her are enticing illegal immigrants to come to the United States.

“When politicians like her say things like we don’t want to detain anybody. She wants to support sanctuary cities. We have the open border attitude or people are enticed to come here illegally and put themselves in the hands of criminal organizations to come to this country. That’s why they’re coming,” Homan said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday.

TRUMP UNVEILS SWEEPING PLAN TO ‘TRANSFORM’ AMERICA’S IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

Gillibrand, while on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” said she would not use the detention system if she were elected president.

“If they are given a lawyer and given a process, they will follow it,” she said. “They can go into the community in the way we used to handle these cases under the Department of Justice.”

Who’s to blame for the child dying in custody today? They need to look in the mirror.

— Thomas Homan

Homan said that is the wrong message to immigrants.

A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died Monday in U.S. custody.  He had been held by immigration authorities for six days — twice as long as federal law generally permits — before being transferred to another holding facility even after he was diagnosed with the flu.

The teenager, identified as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, was the fifth minor from Guatemala to die after being apprehended by U.S. border agents since December.

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Homan argued that policies like Gillibrand’s promise to not detain only invites more illegal immigration.

“When you start preaching open borders, we won’t detain you, that’s when more people come. That’s when we’re going to lose the border,” Homan said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A recent request from the White House for Congress to supply an additional $1.4 billion in funding to deal with the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is aimed at creating a “deterrent” that would hopefully impede the flow of migrants crossing over, a Border Patrol official says.

Roy Villareal, the chief of the agency’s Tucson sector, told “Fox & Friends” Monday that the money would go toward increasing the size of detention spaces that hold migrants.

“There has been a request for supplemental funding and the key or the linchpin to this is to create some sort of deterrent and that does not exist right now because we are releasing people,” he said. “And without detention space, there is nothing that is going to impede this flow.

Migrant children stand outside the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla, in May. The U.S. government is providing long-distance video counseling to teens housed at the country's largest migrant detention center as officials struggle to accommodate increasing numbers of minors illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP)

Migrant children stand outside the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla, in May. The U.S. government is providing long-distance video counseling to teens housed at the country’s largest migrant detention center as officials struggle to accommodate increasing numbers of minors illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP)

HUNDREDS OF MIGRANTS TO BE FLOWN TO CALIFORNIA IN AS MANY AS 3 FLIGHTS A WEEK, OFFICIALS SAY

“So the request for additional funding is so that we can either increase detention space – what we have done recently is we have erected two soft-sided facilities that can hold up to 500 migrants each – but we need help,” he added.

Villareal says current Border Patrol facilities designed to hold migrants are well over capacity.

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“Our normal detention capacity is about 4,000. A crisis level is 6,000… we are holding anywhere from 10 to 12 thousand people a day,” he said. “With this constant influx of migrants arriving every day, there is no relief in sight.”

He concluded that the “entire system needs a reboot.”

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Hundreds of migrant families will be flown to California in as many as three flights a week as U.S. Border Patrol agents continue to struggle with the growing number of illegals crossing into the U.S., officials said.

Flights carrying 120 to 135 people were set to begin flying Friday to San Diego from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and would continue to do so indefinitely, Border Patrol’s interim San Diego sector chief Douglas Harrison said.

Harrison called it a “contingency operation” that would see at least three flights a week making the trip. Each flight would cost the government around $6,000, officials said.

SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN: EVERY TOWN IS A BORDER TOWN UNTIL WE SECURE THE SOUTHERN BORDER

“We don’t have an end date,” he said. “We’ve got to give the people in Rio Grande Valley some relief.”

Once taken in at the border, migrants will go through processing where their biographical information will be collected. They will then go through a medical screening before being placed on a flight to San Diego International Airport where they will be transported to a Border Patrol Station upon arrival. There they will fingerprinted and interviewed and subject to a second medical screening.

The process of screening and interviewing one person typically takes several hours. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will decide whether to release or detain the families in San Diego.

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Border arrests have skyrocketed since Oct. 1, having reached a record 520,000, the highest in a decade, and on average agents make around 4,500 arrests a day, Reuters reported. The Rio Grande Valley, with nearly 8,000 people in detention, is by far the busiest charter followed by El Paso.

Officials have said they are also considering similar flights to Detroit, Miami and Buffalo, N.Y.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 presidential nomination seem to be backing away from the #AbolishICE movement as a new poll shows the call to dismantle the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has failed to catch on with voters.

Their move toward more centrist immigration positions seems somewhat isolating for Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has renewed her call to abolish the immigration agency.

Last year, many prominent Democrats — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders, who are all now running for president — all boldly declared their support for doing away with the agency that was linked to the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration, which has since been rescinded.

But with the 2020 primaries looming closer, Dems making a White House run are seeking out safer positions.

Though he lives in the border town of El Paso, Texas, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke avoided talking about ICE on Tuesday when asked about border and immigration issues on “The View.” O’Rourke instead made vague statements against Trump’s proposal of a border wall, adding that Washington needs to “change immigration laws to respect our values,” and treat immigrants with the dignity and respect by honoring U.S. asylum laws.

But Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 is too young to seek the presidency, doesn’t face the same pressure to move to the center.

“I think ‘Abolish ICE’ is a call to action,” the New York Democrat said in April. “I don’t think an agency that systematically and repeatedly violates human rights can be reformed.”

OCASIO-CORTEZ CALLS TO ABOLISH ICE, SAYS LATINOS MUST BE EXEMPT FROM IMMIGRATION LAWS BECAUSE THEY ARE ‘NATIVE’ TO US

A new poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research may explain why Democratic presidential contenders are no longer talking about ICE on their campaign trails. Only a quarter of Democrats said they support the abolishment of ICE despite 57 percent of Democrats answering they still had a negative view of the agency, the Federalist, a conservative website, reported.

Several activists behind #AbolishICE told BuzzFeed News they feel betrayed by Democrats who they say used the progressive movement to gain political ground before the topic became too controversial.

“It’s a little harmful,” said Miguel Andrade, a spokesman for Juntos, a Latinx activist group in Philadelphia. “Everybody was using it as the big hot topic or issue, but nobody is putting the model forward of what that means, or the possibilities of what that looks like.”

Democratic presidential contenders who initially clung to left-wing, progressive policies are now backtracking. When Ocasio-Cortez spoke against ICE shortly after her victory last summer, Gillibrand said she agreed with her stance.

“I don’t think ICE today is working as intended,” Gillibrand told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in June. Instead, Gillibrand said, the U.S. should “reimagine ICE under a new agency.” Her campaign now claims she never called to “abolish” ICE.

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In a June 2018 Facebook post days later, Warren said, “we need to rebuild our immigration system, start by replacing ICE.” Sen. Kamala Harris told MSNBC “there’s no question that we need to reexamine ICE,” adding that “we should probably think about starting from scratch.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted in July 2018 that “it is time to do what Americans overwhelmingly want: abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

The Democratic Party has failed to put forth a unified stance on immigration, and many Republicans used the #AbolishICE movement to their advantage, airing political ads during midterms that painted Democrats as weak on border security, Buzzfeed News reported.

Many 2020 hopefuls now approach immigration by talking about more popular subjects, like ending the separation of children at the border or advocating of Dreamers, but steer clear of attacking ICE.

Warren is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, reversing cuts in aid to Central America and “making sure we provide the support needed so mamas don’t have to flee with their babies for their lives,” an aide told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Other 2020 Democrats have commented on immigration without making it the forefront of their presidential campaigns. In April, Harris introduced a bill that would permit Dreamers who are temporarily protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to be hired in congressional offices, the newspaper reported.

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President Trump’s new, soon-to-be-announced immigration plan “fundamentally changes the way we think about immigration,” Axios reporter Jonathan Swan said Wednesday.

Trump is scheduled to deliver a major immigration address on Thursday, Fox News has learned, as the White House is set to formally unveil the plan.

WHITE HOUSE TO UNVEIL SWEEPING OVERHAUL OF IMMIGRATION SYSTEM, INCLUDING MERIT-BASED ADMISSIONS, OFFICIALS SAY

The proposal is said to put an end to the visa lottery system and instead implement a comprehensive merit-based admissions procedure, three senior administration officials told Fox News.

“The most important thing about this proposal is that it fundamentally changes the way we think about immigration,” Swan said on “Special Report,” as part of the “All-Star Panel.”

“It flips on its head [the idea that] typically we take the bulk of people based on their family ties. This completely reverses that and it looks at skills and education,” he said.

Potential immigrants would be assessed using a point-based system, accounting for factors including age, English proficiency, whether each candidate has an offer of employment above a certain wage threshold, and educational and vocational certifications, Fox News reported.

Swan noted that top Trump adviser Jared Kushner – who is married to the president’s daughter, Ivanka – is presenting the plan on Capitol Hill.

Host Bret Baier asked Swan which of Kushner’s top two endeavors, the new immigration overhaul and the proposal to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, has a better chance of coming to fruition.

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“[Those are] two intractable problems,” Swan responded. “[Kushner] knows how to pick them.”

Fox News’ John Roberts and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who served under President Obama, said Wednesday the U.S.-Mexico border is “very definitely a crisis” and that everyone should be focusing on a solution to address the issue.  He also worried the nation’s political climate could deter a helpful solution.

“There are answers. In this environment, I worry they’re politically unattainable but there are answers to dealing with border security, with dealing with holding those that are here in this country accountable,” Johnson said on “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”

TSA DEPLOYING HUNDREDS OF OFFICIALS TO SOUTHERN BORDER TO COMBAT IMMIGRATION CRISIS

Johnson and Cavuto were reacting to an interview “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade conducted with acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who Johnson worked with during their time under Obama, highlighting the number people taken into custody at the border.

“So, I was on that trip with Jeh Johnson in June of 2014 when we had 4,400 people in custody in this sector,” McAleenan told Kilmeade.

“What do you have now?” Kilmeade asked.

“8,400. So, this crisis is much bigger than what we faced back then and we need Congress’ help,” McAleenan said.

Johnson agreed with MacAleenan.

“He’s right that what we faced in 2014 is a fraction of what we’re seeing today,” Johnson told Cavuto.

Johnson argued that a proper solution would not be instantaneous and did not dismiss a wall as something that would help deter illegal crossings.

TEXAS BORDER AGENTS SAYS 5,500 MIGRANT A DAY ARE ILLEGALLY ENTERING US

“We should not view a wall or a fence is not a black and white issue. Are there places where some form of barrier could be fortified or an existing barrier replaced or something of that nature? Yeah, I’m sure Kevin McAleenan has in his desk drawer a smart border security plan which we ought to come together around,” Johnson said.

The former Homeland Security secretary also criticized certain approaches made by President Trump and his administration saying they may actually inspire more illegal crossings.

“I owned this problem for three you have to address it at the source. Suspending aid to Central America is the exact wrong thing to do. Not only do we need to continue that investment but when you send the signal that you are suspending aid, you’re giving people no hope. When you say I’m closing the border You’re telling people to go now, you’re encouraging the coyotes to sell to migrants in Central America,” Johnson said.

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Former New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez called on Congress to put politics aside and address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Martinez, a Republican who served as governor from 2011 to 2019, noted during an appearance on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday that U.S. border authorities have already arrested 500,000 people at the border so far this year.

TSA DEPLOYING HUNDREDS OF OFFICIALS TO SOUTHERN BORDER TO COMBAT IMMIGRATION CRISIS

Martinez said she supports many of the proposals in Sen. Lindsey Graham’s, R-S.C., newly-unveiled immigration bill, which would end asylum claims from Central America at the border and return unaccompanied minors to their home countries — a targeted effort to tackle the escalating migration crisis.

Graham’s bill would also extend the time families can be held together from 20 days to 100 days to help allow claims to be filed without families being released into the U.S., and it would add an additional 500 immigration judges to deal with the backlog of asylum claims.

TEXAS BORDER AGENTS SAY 5,500 MIGRANTS A DAY ARE ILLEGALLY ENTERING US

“At this point, there are communities down in the southern part of the state that are being overwhelmed,” Martinez said, explaining that Border Patrol agents are being pulled in too many directions now to man all the border checkpoints or to meet the humanitarian needs of migrants.

Host Sandra Smith said if Graham’s proposal — or any other immigration reform bill — is to succeed, it will need support from Democrats, which has been difficult to gain.

“It’s politics as always,” Martinez said. “Unfortunately, the people are sick and tired of it. They’re very tired of the politics that are being played in Washington.”

She argued that the legal loopholes that incentivize migrants to make the difficult and dangerous trek to the U.S. must be closed.

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She pointed out that she served as a prosecutor for 25 years, and she came across many illegal immigrants who wanted to come to the U.S. for economic opportunity, not as legitimate asylum-seekers.

“The Border Patrol is dealing with these family groups that are being released automatically,” Martinez said. “And immigration is not a new problem. It has been existing for a long time. It is just now at a critical level.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is planning to send hundreds of officials to the southern border to help the Department of Homeland Security with the escalating immigration crisis, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.

“TSA, like all DHS components, is supporting the DHS effort to address the humanitarian and security crisis at the southwest border,” a spokesperson told Fox News. “TSA is in the process of soliciting volunteers to support this effort while minimizing operational impact.”

TEXAS BORDER AGENTS SAY 5,500 MIGRANTS A DAY ARE ILLEGALLY ENTERING US

The move, first reported by CNN, is expected to consist of a few hundred officials, with a maximum of 400 volunteers, ranging from department attorneys to, potentially, some air marshals. CNN reported that the agency does not initially plan to involve uninformed airport screeners, but that some parts of TSA will be asked to contribute around 10 percent of their workforce.

The spokesperson said that the deployment schedule had not yet been finalized and that Americans should not be concerned that the deployment will hurt air travel safety because “at this time, the deployment will not include any frontline resources.”

The measure comes as the Trump administration faces a spike in the number of illegal border crossings, and as President Trump increases his calls for Congress to act to end loopholes in immigration law and make funding available to secure the border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it apprehended or turned away more than 109,000 migrants attempting to cross the border In April, the second month in a row the number has topped 100,000 and averaged more than 3,000 apprehensions a day.

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Last month, Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch told lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Committee that his sector is being hit by a caravan-size influx of migrants crossing the border each week.

“This is not a manufactured crisis created by those of us who live and work in the border area. Border Patrol continues to apprehend record numbers of people who purposely violate U.S. immigration laws, we are taken advantage of by gaps in our legal frameworks and that undermine the rule of laws,” he said.

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Who is to blame for the record-breaking number of migrants apprehended at the southern border?

U.S. Attorney for the Western Texas District, John Bash, said district judges ruling against fixing a “broken asylum system” are a major part of the problem.

In an interview with “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday, Bash — who is the U.S. Attorney with the largest stretch of the southern border at approximately some 660 miles — gave President Trump credit for trying to discourage illegal immigration, before taking aim at judges for hampering efforts.

“I think the administration has tried all sorts of steps to stop that incentive to come here illegally. The problem is in a lot of those cases a single district judge sitting somewhere outside of the border area has enjoined an initiative nationwide,” Bash said.

TEXAS BORDER AGENTS SAYS 5,500 MIGRANT A DAY ARE ILLEGALLY ENTERING US

“That means other judges don’t get to weigh in on that initiative and that means it’s stopped in its tracks. For example, the President said ‘If you cross illegally you can’t apply for asylum. You have to go to the ports and apply.’ A single judge put that on hold.”

Bash told Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith that right now only 13 percent of people making an asylum claim win that claim.

“Most of these people, at the end of the day, are not people with valid asylum claims, nor are they criminals. They’re economic migrants searching for better opportunities in the United States. And that’s admirable, but they can’t do it illegally,” he said.

In May, illegal migrant apprehension numbers topped over 100,000 people along the border for the second month in a row. The question posed to the Trump administration now is how to stop the crisis.

PATRICK SHANAHAN: PRESIDENT TRUMP GAVE ‘DIRECT LEGAL ORDER’ FOR MILITARY TO SECURE BORDER

It comes after a recent overhaul of leadership in the Department of Homeland Security and reports that former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and a top immigration official had challenged a previously secret White House plan to arrest thousands of migrant parents and children in nearly a dozen U.S. cities.

According to Bash, the solution to overflowing U.S. borders is within the asylum system: “…if the system is such that you can just make the claim and if it has any superficial plausibility you can just stay in this country for years, well people are going to naturally exploit that and that’s a huge problem…what we need at the end of the day is action by Congress to fortify our border and fix our broken asylum system.”

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“Just bear in mind why this is so different from even some ten years ago. Now it’s a large number of family units from Central America. What that means is that our Border Patrol agents are spending more and more time caring for these family units.

“Getting babies diapers…feeding them…which is an absolute humanitarian imperative. That means there are fewer Border Patrol agents actually out in the field stopping the drug traffickers and gang members from coming into this country. And that’s a big reason why we need to fix this system and why we need Congress to act.”

Source: Fox News Politics


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