Despite deep cuts in other parts of the budget, Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl of Arizona are proposing an expansion of Operation Streamline in their Senate bill 803. Here’s the text of the bill:
SEC. 5. ENHANCING EXISTING BORDER SECURITY OPERATIONS.
(a) Operation Streamline-
(1) IMPLEMENTATION- The Attorney General, the Secretary, and the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall–
(A) fully implement Operation Streamline in the Southwest Border region; and
(B) reimburse State, local, and tribal law enforcement for any detention costs related to such implementation.
(2) ADDITIONAL MAGISTRATE JUDGES TO ASSIST WITH INCREASED CASELOAD ALONG SOUTHWEST BORDER- The chief judge of each Federal judicial district in the Southwest Border region is authorized to appoint additional full-time magistrate judges, who shall have the authority to hear all cases and controversies in the district in which the respective judges are appointed.
As this blog has covered, Operation Streamline is already an enormously expensive proposition. The increased detention related to criminal prosecutions of border-crossers has cost more than $1 billion in Texas alone. And that doesn’t include court or defender costs. Some estimates say that a full expansion of Streamline along the Arizona border could cost more than $1 billion in annual court costs and add more than 50,000 new prison beds to the federal detention system.
However, these financial costs, let alone the human costs of incarcerating tens of thousands of non-violent border-crossers, are rarely part of the debate.