Obama asks Congress for $3.7 billion to address child immigrant crisis

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress to provide $3.7 billion in emergency funding to tackle the influx of child immigrants in border crossings.

The letter to Congress requesting the fund said $1.8 billion of the amount will go to the Health and Human Services Department for the care of some 52,000 unaccompanied children immigrants who arrived in the country since October.

Another $1.1 billion will go to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of which $109 million will be used to pay for the expansion of border enforcement security task forces (BEST), $116 million for related transportation cost, and $879 million for the detention, removal and prosecution of apprehended undocumented adults traveling with children.

BEST teams facilitate collaboration among federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign law enforcement agencies to execute coordinated activities in furthering border and homeland security. The teams also enhance information-sharing, including the dissemination of homeland security information among agencies involved.

About $433 million is proposed to be used by DHS in beefing up resources of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents like increased surveillance capacity and pay for their overtime and “temporary duty costs.” The funding will also be used in contracting services to care for immigrant children who are in CBP custody.

Some of the funding request would be used to speed up immigration trials so that people could be deported more quickly. This includes $64 million for the Department of Justice to hire approximately 40 additional immigration judge teams.

The House Appropriations Committee and the working group on the border crisis led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) will review the administration’s proposal, according to Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

The influx of unaccompanied children immigrants has overcrowded border detention centers. The centers are being decongested by transferring the children to similar facilities in California.

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