On Tuesday, President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the rapidly growing number of unaccompanied Central American children attempting to enter the United States. The Border Patrol apprehended 38,833 unaccompanied kids in fiscal year 2013, and it already has caught more than 52,000 in fiscal 2014.
The requested appropriations include:
- $1.8 billion to the HHS’s Administration for Children and Families: to provide more stable, cost-effective arrangements and medical care for unaccompanied children.
- $1.1 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): for the detention, prosecution, and removal of undocumented families, as well as transportation costs for unaccompanied children.
- $432 million to Customs and Border Protection: for operational costs, an expanded Border Enforcement Security Task Force, and increased air surveillance in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
- $295 million to the State Department’s (and other international programs’) Economic Support Fund: for the repatriation and reintegration of deported migrants, and to address the root causes of migration in Central America.
- $62 million to the Department of Justice: for additional immigration judges and legal representation for the children.
Notably, Obama’s letter to House Speaker John Boehner did not include a request to alter the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. That law requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to turn over unaccompanied children from countries other than Canada and Mexico to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which temporarily houses them in shelters while it locates US-based family members or sponsors. (The kids are in removal proceedings throughout.)
Here’s the full letter: