President Trump has called for the hiring of 15,000 new immigration and border agents to help carry out his orders to increase immigration enforcement inside the U.S. and along its southern border. Combined, the 15,000 new agents would cost $1.38 billion to $1.48 billion annually, or between $13 billion to nearly $15 billion over 10 years, according to estimates by the Migration Policy Institute, The Arizona Republic reports. Such a massive buildup in staffing would require approval from Congress, could take years to achieve, and could lead to changes in hiring standards aimed at preventing corruption and bribery by drug cartels.
What’s more, Trump’s plan would likely encounter strong resistance from Democrats and from fiscal conservatives in his own party. It comes as the president wants to build a giant southwestern border wall to curtail illegal immigration and is also calling for a sharp increase in military spending that would be paid for by slashing other areas of the federal budget, including education, the environment, and foreign aid. “This is very expensive. It’s clear that President Trump has a desire to shift resources towards Homeland Security, but shift them from where, because this is a lot of money,” asks Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense, an independent watchdog group. The 10,000 new ICE agents and 5,000 new Border Patrol agents appear to be an arbitrary “political number for a political promise,” Alexander said. It is not based on concrete research or analysis to accomplish specific goals or objectives. “What is the evidence that this is going to make the difference that you want to make? (That is what) is missing right now,” she said. Border Patrol apprehensions of Mexicans, however, in recent years have fallen to near historic lows, says the Pew Research Center.