The Obama administration is asking Congress for $3.7 billion to address humanitarian needs as child migrants cross the U.S.-Mexico border alone. Congress must approve the funding that, according to news reports, would speed up removal proceedings to decide if the children can stay in the U.S. or if they will be sent back to Central America. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, the White House lays out how the sum will be split between multiple government agencies to apprehend, care for, and remove unaccompanied minors who are in the U.S.
Here is where the $3.7 billion would go, according to the White House:
- $1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services for additional capacity to care for unaccompanied children transferred from Homeland Security custody and the necessary medical response to the arrival of these children.
- $1.1 Billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would cover $879 million for the detention, prosecution, and removal of apprehended undocumented families; $116 million for transportation costs associated with the surge in apprehensions of unaccompanied children; and $109 million for expanded domestic and international investigative and enforcement efforts.
- $433 million to Customs and Border Protection including $364 million for operational costs associated with apprehending unaccompanied children and families; $29 million for expansion of the Border Enforcement Security Task Force program; and $39 million to increase air surveillance capabilities to detect illegal activity in the Rio Grande Valley region
- $300 million to the Department of State to cover $295 million for repatriation of migrants to Central America and help governments in the region better control their borders and address underlying root causes of the migration. And $5 million would support State Department media campaigns in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to tell potential migrants not to make the dangerous journey.
- $64 million to the Department of Justice Administrative Review and Appeals including $45.4 million for additional immigration judge teams to increase case processing, $2.5 million for expansion of legal orientation program, $15 million for direct legal representation services to children in immigration proceedings, and $1.1 million for additional legal activities.
In addition, the White House is requesting $615 million to the Department of Agriculture Wildfire Management for wildfire suppression.