Trump seeks additional $4.5B in emergency funding for U.S.-Mexico border
WATCH ABOVE: Trump plans to have almost 400 miles of wall built by end of 2020
The Trump administration on Wednesday asked Congress for an additional $4.5 billion in emergency funds for the U.S.-Mexico border as it grapples with a surge of Central American migrant families seeking refuge in the U.S.
Most of the money requested would be used to increase shelter capacity and care for the onslaught of migrant families who have been fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries. Department of Homeland Security officials said they were on track to run out of money without the extra cash.
“DHS projects it will exhaust resources well before the end of the fiscal year,” read the administration’s formal request letter to Congress, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
The request is just the latest in a flurry of efforts by the administration to cope with what it calls a “crisis” that officials say has overwhelmed federal resources and capacity. President Donald Trump has railed against aides and Congress for failing to do more to address the situation, but has also made clear he believes immigration was key to his 2016 victory and intends to continue to hammer the issue to motivate his base heading into his 2020 reelection campaign.
The 2019 fiscal year budget already contained $415 million for humanitarian assistance at the border, including $28 million in medical care, senior administration officials said Wednesday.
But the White House now wants an extra $3.3 billion to increase shelter capacity for unaccompanied migrant children and the feeding and care of families, plus transportation and processing centres.
An additional $1.1 billion of the new request would go toward operational support, including personnel expenses, detention beds, transportation and investigative work on smuggling. The remaining $178 million would be used for mission support, including technology upgrades.
The number of families and children arriving alone at the border is now outpacing the number of single adults, and their needs are much different. The U.S. is on track to have as many as 1 million cross this year, the highest since the early 2000s, when most of those crossing were single men from Mexico looking for work.
Border stations were not constructed to handle such a large volume of children and families, and they have been pushed to the breaking point.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 50,036 unaccompanied children during the last budget year, and so far this budget year there have been 35,898 children. Their average length of stay in a government shelter is 66 days, up from 59 during fiscal year 2018 and 40 in 2016’s fiscal year.
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