Trump administration officials said Thursday they are releasing $400 million to help build the nation’s first federal prison in the United States and immigration detention facilities, including an expansion of detention beds and an expanded program to bring some immigrants to the U.S. illegally.
“We’re making significant investments, both in the interior and in the exterior,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said.
“The government has identified many areas of focus that have proven to be very cost effective.
We’re doing this for both the interior, the exterior, and in a comprehensive manner.”
The move came in response to growing public pressure for more federal spending to deal with the surge of unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally from Central America, which is a national security threat.
The Justice Department announced earlier this month that it would spend $400m on a new detention facility in northern New Mexico, and the Trump administration has promised to spend an additional $200m for new border security fencing.
“This is a new level of federal support for our nation’s borders,” President Donald Trump said in a news conference Thursday.
“We’re getting the infrastructure we need, and we’re getting people out of the country.”
“We have more detention beds in the country than any other time in our history,” Trump added.
“There are not many other countries where you have the capacity to have such a massive amount of people in one place.”
Trump said that he’s also “very encouraged” that ICE has “a tremendous amount of capacity” and “continues to make significant investments” in immigration detention.
Trump’s administration has also vowed to build a wall along the U:S.
southern border and build a $1 trillion wall on the southern border with Mexico.
Trump also said the Department of Homeland Security is considering using a $500 million fund to fund construction of a fence along the border.
He’s also promised to build “bigger, better fences” and said he’s “looking into” the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and a border wall.