U.S. immigration officials are reportedly relying on foreign law enforcement and military databases to determine whether migrants who cross the border are affiliated with gangs, which would could lead to them being detained and even fast-tracked for deportation. ProPublica reports the “‘fusion’ intelligence-gathering center” is located in San Salvador, El Salvador, and is funded by the State Department. The center, which was created in May 2017, works with the Department of Homeland Security in order to provide information about migrants who have crossed the border. In 2018 testimony to Congress, it was revealed that several Salvadoran police officers were bought to McAllen, Texas, in order to “report information to DHS” and returned to El Salvador to work with DHS and FBI agents’ “joint gang task force in Central America.” That same year, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence urged the center to expand its intelligence gathering to include Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.
State Department spokesperson Noel Clay did not tell the website what kind of information was being shared with U.S. officials, and only said it came from “the criminal and intelligence databases of each participating country.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials reportedly did not answer questions about the center.