A Senate appropriations committee on Tuesday approved giving the government of President Barack Obama 2,000 million requested to address a significant increase in the number of immigrant children alone crossing the Mexican border with Texas.
Money is more than 1,100 million Obama initially requested in his budget proposal for the division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that deals with care and shelter for immigrant children detained when crossing the border alone. The funds come from unspecified changes in other programs.
The number of children crossing the Mexican border alone has skyrocketed in recent years. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of those children who are available to the Refugee Resettlement program HSS ranged between 6,000 and 7,500 per year. In 2012, border agents detained 13,625 unaccompanied minors and the figure increased further to more than 24,000 last year. It is expected that this year the total is up to 90,000.
The budget approved by the committee to HHS also allows the government to take money from other programs if the amount exceeds 90,000 immigrant children.
The full Senate will have the final say in his version of the HHS budget. The House has not yet acted on the matter.
Most children are alone arrested Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and we can repatriate quickly.
The federal law states that children must be submitted to HHS within 72 hours. Most are reunited with their parents or other family members already living in the United States.
Due to strong growth this year, the Border Patrol has had to accommodate many children in their stations, and recently moved some to Nogales, Arizona, where they are staying temporarily in a warehouse.
The government has requested assistance from the Department of Defense to use three military bases in California, Texas and Oklahoma to temporarily house them once they are in the custody of HHS.