Skip to comments.Senate Appropriators Want $1B for Unaccompanied Illegal Immigrant Children
Posted on 06/13/2014 7:39:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
WASHINGTON Senate appropriators are moving toward a $1.03 billion spending increase to address the healthcare and shelter needs of thousands of unaccompanied alien children streaming across the nations southern border.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education approved a spending plan this week that includes an attempt to tackle what lawmakers described as an emergency situation by any definition.
Beginning in 2012, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of children fleeing escalating gang and drug violence in Central America, seeking relief in the United States and to reunite with families already living here, said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the subcommittee chairman. This is an urgent humanitarian crisis.
The 2015 spending proposal includes $1.94 billion for the Unaccompanied Alien Children program, a $1.03 billion increase over the comparable fiscal year 2014 level. In addition, the committee expanded the authority of agencies to transfer funds if current trends continue, providing additional opportunities to increase shelter capacity and offer critical support services for children in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services if necessary.
The subcommittee intends to offset the increase by cutting other programs in the $156.7 billion spending package.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who supported the funding increase, said the recent influx of tens of thousands of children entering the country without their parents has resulted in emergency situations in border states. Federal, state and local officials need increased resources to properly shelter, feed and clothe these children as they work to find solutions to these heartbreaking situations.
Providing sufficient funding for child advocates and legal services is essential to ensure children have adequate representation and support as their immigration cases make their way through the judicial process, she said.
The Obama administration has reported that more than 47,000 children have illegally crossed the southern border unaccompanied by their parents since Oct. 1 — a 92 percent increase over the same period in 2013. More than 33,000 have been apprehended along the Rio Grande during that period.
In May alone, about 9,500 children were taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security and transferred to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services — a more than 300 percent increase over May 2013 and 150 percent more than the total number of children in all of fiscal year 2011. Most are arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Authorities expect as many as 60,000 unaccompanied children will cross the Mexican border illegally by years end.
Those apprehended are being warehoused in what generally are considered untenable, unsanitary conditions.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said his office remains vigilant regarding the latest trends and challenges to border security and that he is closely monitoring the substantial increase in the numbers of unaccompanied children who are some of the most vulnerable individuals who interact with our immigration system.
Johnson said he is particularly focused on the emerging situation in the Rio Grande Valley.
On Sunday, May 11th, I traveled to McAllen, Texas to view the situation and saw the children there first hand an overwhelming number of whom were under twelve years old, Johnson said. I have taken steps across the department and in coordination with federal partners to immediately address this issue.
At the direction of President Obama, Johnson said he established an interagency coordination group, led by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, to ensure that federal agencies are unified in providing relief to the affected children.
Johnson said his agency intends to undertake longer-term reforms to address the root cause behind these recent migration trends and will work closely with the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
We must, and we will, address this situation, Johnson said.
But Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said reports indicate the flow of children crossing the border is overwhelming the agencies responsible for their care. He attributed this latest crisis along the nations southern border to the Republican-controlled Houses failure to act on comprehensive immigration reform, asserting that legislation passed last year in the upper chamber would have eased the situation.
Every day the House fails to act, we realize the human cost of doing nothing to fix our broken immigration system, Leahy said. We see the human cost in the gripping photographs of young children, seeking a better life, housed in facilities at the border. The pictures are shocking, and so are the numbers.
In 2011, according to Leahy, 6,560 unaccompanied children crossed the border. Since then, the numbers have skyrocketed.
Just in the last seven months, nearly 50,000 children have already been apprehended and that number will likely double before the end of 2014, he said. President Obama has called this an urgent humanitarian situation. I agree.
But Republicans, like Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn, of Texas, insist that the crisis is directly the result of President Obama’s own policies and it involves tens of thousands of young children risking their lives.
Cornyn asserted the administrations failure to uphold our immigration laws, indeed, his statement that he essentially will not enforce broad swaths of those laws has created an dangerous incentive for children and their parents to cross into the United States under treacherous and horrific circumstances.
These children are being preyed on by drug cartels and human traffickers, and theyre at high risk of being kidnapped, raped, or even killed while traveling in this long dangerous journey to the United States, Cornyn said. But sadly, when they arrive here, we still have no way of guaranteeing their safety because of lack of an adequate plan to deal with this humanitarian crisis.
Cornyn was joined in his condemnation by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who said the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border spiked dramatically in 2012 after the president implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, memorandum instructing various agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to practice prosecutorial discretion toward some individuals who immigrated illegally to the United States as children.
That action, Cruz said, unilaterally granted amnesty to some 800,000 people who had been minors, leading to a dramatic increase of children being handed over to international drug cartels to be smuggled in here illegally.
These numbers represent children, Cruz said. Little boys and little girls, their parents are handing them over not to some noble social worker trying to help them. They are handing them over to international, global criminal cartels that smuggle human beings in. They put kids, among other places, on top of fast-moving freight trains. They are criminals who assault, sexually assault, and sometimes murder these children. These are little girls that are sometimes being sold into prostitution and sex slavery.”
Wish in one hand and sh!t in the other.
THAT IS OUR MONEY.
HOUSE THOSE KIDS IN YOUR OWN HOUSES SINCE YOU WANT TO FULFILL THEIR ‘SO CALLED DREAMS’.
Haha... Yeah, good luck with getting that piece of absolute garbage legislation passed in the House.
If that's what it will cost to ship every last one of them back to their parents, I'm willing to help pay for it.
F’n BS...Not one GD dime until the Marine is released from Mexico and then not until Mexico fixes it’s own GD country so they can live happily ever after in their own country.
They came here for Love... Remember that (Hat tip: Jeb Bush)
I wonder why. /s
It cannot cost that much to repatriate them.
But there’s no money for border control.
There never is.
All these years yammering about “comprehensive immigration reform” with promises of future enforcement. We’ve had years of future and still no enforcement of existing law, it’s “too expensive”
The entered from Mexico, send them back to Mexico.
MEANWHILE OUR VETS ARE DYING BECAUSE THEY CAN’T GET HEALTHCARE!
That billion will wind up in the Democrat Senatorial Committee campaign coffers. Obama’s little Amnesty Army recruits can eat surplus MREs, now that he’s bugged out of Afghanistan.
I think we should send all the young boys to San Francisco.
Pound sand. Go find the money in existing budgets. How about starting by cutting off all Bonuses for Union Gov. workers. They are guaranteed a job for life, that is a huge Bonus in itself.
THEY want it, THEY can pay for it with THEIR money!
Printing more worthless money?
It doesn’t take a billion dollars to load them onto a military transport plane and drop them off on their government’s doorstep.
It’s completely outrageous, every week it’s more BS like this from this regime in the White house.. Vets dying because they can’t see a doctor, a Marine locked up in Mexico for months on end and these pieces of rat filth are tripping over themselves to blow a BILLION dollars on a bunch brats WHO AREN’T EVEN SUPPOSE TO BE HERE!
American Citizens & Vets FIRST!!!
How about we pay Southwest Airline $1 Billion to take them back to Mexico City??? ONE WAY flights .
So all these kids have been in central and south America waiting for their families in the U.S. to summon them? And they got this far on their own?
I call B.S.!
Their families are sending them here, using them as leverage to get their own worthless hides into the U.S.