The Trump administration has started moving up to 1,600 immigration violators awaiting deportation hearings into federal prisons, a first-of-its-kind transfer that shows how many more immigrants are being rounded up under the president’s push to crack down on illegal immigration.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said Thursday that the agency entered into an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons to make the beds available for people caught illegally crossing the border.
The agreement, first reported by Reuters, follows the administration’s implementation of a “zero tolerance” policy that requires federal prosecutors to criminally charge everybody caught illegally crossing the border. Under previous administrations, first-time border crossers were usually put through civil deportation proceedings.
The result of the new policy has been a massive increase in the number of immigrants being detained, which led ICE to seek out additional bed space.
“The use of (Bureau of Prisons) facilities is intended to be a temporary measure until ICE can obtain additional long-term contracts for new detention facilities or until the surge in illegal border crossings subsides,” said ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett.