Associated Press/LM Otero
- International consulting firm McKinsey & Company was hired under the Obama administration to reorganize spending for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of government.
- Under the Trump administration, the firm was redirected to "toward helping the agency figure out how to execute the White House's clampdown on illegal immigration," ProPublica reported.
- However, some cost-saving initiatives were reportedly so severe that they made ICE agents uncomfortable, as they "risked short-circuiting due process protections for migrants fighting removal from the United States," according to the ProPublica report.
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A consulting firm working with ICE division reportedly proposed severe budget cuts to speed up deportation — including proposals to cut spending on food and medical care for migrants and to use low-cost beds — according to a new report from ProPublica and The New York Times.
International consulting firm McKinsey & Company was hired under the Obama administration to reorganize spending in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of government. Under the Trump administration, the firm was redirected to "toward helping the agency figure out how to execute the White House's clampdown on illegal immigration," ProPublica and The Times reported.
The Times and ProPublica obtained 1,000 pages of documents obtained through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act and interviewed those familiar with the issue from ICE and McKinsey.
McKinsey suggested money-saving initiatives that would cut costs as well as finding ways to speed up deportation of illegal migrants, per President Donald Trump and the White House's new directives. ProPublica and The Times reported that the firm was "deeply involved" in executing policies that would carry out Trump's mission to crack down on illegal immigration into the US.
An ICE spokesman told ProPublica and The Times that McKinsey's work with the division "yielded measurable improvements in mission outcomes, including a notable decrease in the time to remove aliens with a final order of removal."
However, some cost-saving initiatives were reportedly so severe that they made ICE agents uncomfortable, as they "risked short-circuiting due process protections for migrants fighting removal from the United States," according to the ProPublica report. Some of the proposals were not implemented, because ICE employees thought they "went too far," according to the report.
For example, the cutting spending on food and medical care proposal was not included in the contract, ProPublica and The Times reported.
A McKinsey spokesman told ProPublica and The Times that the "scope" of their work, which began contractually under the Obama administration, was "designed to help the agency find ways to operate more effectively and cost-efficiently,"
"The focus of our work did not change as a result of these executive orders," the spokesman continued.
After growing dissatisfaction with the firm, ICE ended its partnership with McKinsey in July 2018, two ICE former officials told ProPublica and The Times. The firm still has a contract with US Customs and Border Protection.
Following the publication of the article, McKinsey issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the report "fundamentallly misrepresents" the company's work, as it "disregards facts that we provided before publication and misleads readers about both the substance and goals of our work."
"While we offered extensive on-the-record comments in response to more than a dozen questions, the story contains only the barest of statements from McKinsey and ignores many of the factual points that we presented," the statement read. "As a firm, we are committed to supporting the United States' legacy of welcoming immigrants. We believe that our firm, the United States and the global economy are strengthened by the mobility of diverse talent."
Representatives for ICE and McKinsey respectively did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
The Trump administration's immigration policy has come under sharp criticism from civil rights organizations and lawmakers from both parties — with some Democratic lawmakers calling for the abolishment of ICE.
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