Biden administration spending $62M a week to house unaccompanied minor migrants – or $775 per day each

WASHINGTON, DC – According to a report from CNN, the Biden administration is spending at least $62 million a week to help house and care for unaccompanied migrant children that are currently in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Since the beginning of March, the Department of Health and Human Services collectively announced or opened 11 new facilities, with reportedly more to come in the future, as a means to transfer unaccompanied minor migrants out of Border Patrol stations and into facilities more appropriate for children.

Locations such as convention centers and military sites are among these sorts of facilities being retrofitted to address the surge of unaccompanied minor migrants that have crossed into the country.

Reportedly, the daily cost to house these unaccompanied minors winds up costing over twice as much than that of the department’s already formed shelter program, coming in at approximately $775 per day, per minor – as opposed to it traditionally costing around $290 per day.

From what the Department of Health and Human Services says of the inflated expenditures, the increased costs are predominantly due to the agency having to quickly develop these facilities and hire staff in a relatively short period of time.

These temporary facilities that are being erected will reportedly afford an additional 16,000 beds to help accommodate and care for these unaccompanied minors; that figure is in concurrence with the already established 13,721 beds present within the department’s permanent shelter program.

As of April 8th, there were reportedly 8,124 unaccompanied minors settled into these temporary facilities, as well as 8,876 unaccompanied minors occupying beds in the department’s permanent shelter program.

Furthermore, as of April 8th, there were still at least 3,881 unaccompanied minor migrants still in the custody Customs and Border Protection – an agency simply not equipped to properly care for and house children.

Despite these ballooning costs associated with housing unaccompanied minor migrants, White House officials say that there are currently no plans to approach Congress seeking additional funding for this endeavor.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data showed that just in the month of March the agency had encountered 18,890 unaccompanied minor migrants, which served as a record high for the agency.

That March figure was also nearly double the number of unaccompanied minor apprehensions that transpired in February.

While agencies are working their best to address the issues affecting the southern border, the fact of the matter is that unaccompanied minor migrants are being encountered and apprehended daily at a rate that surpasses the number being discharged daily from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and former HHS official, commented on the conundrum the agency is experiencing in light of the border crisis:

“The basic problem right now is that each day more children are arriving than are being released to parents and sponsors. There will keep being a need for more capacity, unless either the number of arriving children goes down or HHS is able to more quickly release children.

“The important thing it’s accomplishing is helping to get children out of CBP holding facilities, which are severely crowded, not a good place for children during any circumstances, particularly so during the pandemic.”

The speed in which the Department of Health and Human Services can discharge unaccompanied minor migrants to a guardian is highly contingent upon whether or not the child already has a living relative in the United states or not.

For instances when unaccompanied minors have a parent or guardian in the United states, their average length of stay in HHS custody is about 25 days. However, when it relates to a sponsor with no relation or a “distant relative,” that average length of stay can increase to up to 54 days in HHS custody.

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In other news related to costs associated with border security, Law Enforcement Today recently reported on the requested DHS budget presented to Congress. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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WASHINGTON, DC – The latest iteration of the Department of Homeland Security’s budget request was announced on April 9th, which is reportedly requesting $52 billion for the agency to operate from October 2021 until September 2022.

While the details are somewhat short with respect to what this money would be used for when operating the agency, it seems as though that DHS is not requesting additional funds to complete construction of the border wall and is asking for unused funds that are “unobligated” by the end of 2021 to be cancelled.

According to the announced budget request from Congress, the following is noted regarding border wall construction:

“The discretionary request includes no additional funding for border wall construction and proposes the cancellation of prior-year balances that are unobligated at the end of 2021.”

While the budget is apparently not requesting additional funding for additional agents to work the border in the midst of the ongoing crisis, but the budget request did manage to ask for some money to be allocated toward investigating Border Patrol agents that may be secret white supremacists:

“This funding level also provides $470 million, an additional $84 million over the 2021 enacted level, for the Offices of Professional Responsibility at Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to ensure that DHS workforce complaints, including those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs, are investigated expeditiously.”

Apparently, DHS also needs some funding to support civil rights and civil liberties protections, so is to expediently look into complaints lodged against the agencies that fall under DHS:

“The discretionary request proposes increasing funding for the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to address the press of complaints the office has received, but has been unable to process because of staffing shortages.”

Furthermore, a cool $345 million is being requested by the agency so as to support the admission of up to 125,000 refugees by 2022:

“The discretionary request provides $345 million for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to address naturalization and asylum backlogs, support up to 125,000 refugee admissions in 2022, and allow for systems and operations modernization.”

“The discretionary request supports expanded access to the Alternatives to Detention program and provides enhanced case management services, particularly for families seeking asylum.”

Now of all the bizarre things for the Department of Homeland Security to request budgeting for, combatting “climate change” probably wouldn’t be on the list of things regular people would consider a priority for DHS.

Yet apparently the agency needs an additional $540 million to do so:

“The discretionary request expands DHS’s work with State and local communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change.”

“The discretionary request invests an additional $540 million above the 2021 enacted level to incorporate climate impacts into pre-disaster planning and resilience efforts. This funding level also supports a resilient infrastructure community grant program, which prioritizes climate resilience projects for vulnerable and historically underserved communities.”

Certainly some strange line items present within the budgetary request for DHS.

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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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