Obama Seeks $2B To Curb Undocumented Child Crossings
On Monday, President Obama asked Congress to allocate more than $2 billion in emergency funds to curb the problem of unaccompanied and undocumented children crossing at the southern border of the U.S., the Washington Post reports (Nakamura, Washington Post, 6/28).
The request comes as a tenfold increase in unaccompanied and undocumented child crossings is overwhelming HHS officials in charge of a federal program established to care for such children. The HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the Unaccompanied Alien Children program, is authorized to take custody of unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children within 72 hours. The children are then transferred to one of five immigrant shelters in Arizona, California, Oklahoma or Texas.
While in custody or at the shelters, the children receive a range of services, including food, shelter, clothing and basic health care. The children spend an average of one month in the shelters before HHS releases them to relatives while their immigration cases are pending. The Office of Management and Budget has estimated that the increase in unaccompanied immigrant minors might cost at least $2 billion (Viebeck, The Hill, 6/24).email subscription.