No one knows the cost of the U.S. Border Patrol program called Operation Streamline that pushes immigrants caught entering the country illegally through the federal court system at speeds unheard of before, reports NPR in the third in a series. They exit convicted criminals. The program raises concerns about due process and adequate representation. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who’s in charge of the Border Patrol, says “it is a very expensive program per head because it does implicate use of the judicial system.”
The government is spending $1 million on a study to find out how much homeland security operations affect the Justice Department. Still, some members of Congress like Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) want to expand it. Prisoners are brought to the Tucson federal courthouse by the busload. The courthouse was built to house a maximum of 100 prisoners awaiting their court appearances. These days, Assistant Chief U.S. Marshal Ray Kondo says that’s a minimum. “Particularly in the mornings, we’ll have as many as 200 prisoners in here,” he says. Every morning a courtroom becomes a makeshift jail.