President Barack Obama will ask Congress for $3.7 billion on Tuesday to help deal with an unprecedented surge of illegal immigrants from Central America that have been apprehended at the U.S. border.
The funds will be dispersed among the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Health and Human Services, and be used to build more detention facilities, bring in more immigration judges, and increase the number of border patrol agents.
The $3.7 billion figure is nearly double the $2 billion that the administration was seeking to handle the influx of immigrants – many of whom are children who traveled to the U.S. without their parents. According to the Post, the increased funding will be aimed at speeding up deportation proceedings for tens of thousands of children and mothers.
Between Oct. 1 and June 15, 52,000 of the so-called unaccompanied children and approximately 39,000 mothers with children were apprehended at the U.S. border. A majority of them are from the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Because of a 2008 law, the unaccompanied children are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is charged with housing them while searching for a relative or sponsor to place the child with. From there, the unaccompanied child is given a notice to appear in court to face deportation proceedings. (RELATED: Obama Wimps Out; Won’t Try To Close Border Loopholes)
The Obama administration has not made clear how many of the young immigrants will actually be deported and how many will be allowed to stay in the U.S.
Of the $3.7 billion requested, $1.1 billion will go the the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help pay for transportation costs as well as for detention and removal costs of adults with children, according to a White House fact sheet.
Another $433 million will be directed to DHS and Customs and Border Protection. Most of that, $364 million, will be devoted to increased staffing to deal with increased apprehensions while $39.4 million will be used to bolster air surveillance capabilities.
The White House is also seeking an additional $64 million for the Justice Department. Just over $45 million of that sum will be used to hire approximately 40 additional immigration judge teams. Another $18.6 million will be used to pay for attorneys for apprehended immigrants.
Another $300 million will go to the State Department to help repatriate the immigrants to their Central American countries while $1.8 billion is requested on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services to help provide care for unaccompanied children.
“Without supplemental funding, absent undertaking extraordinary measures, agencies will not have sufficient resources to adequately
address this situation,” reads the White House fact sheet.
On Monday, it was reported that the administration would be seeking the original $2 billion in funding but that it was backing away from a plan to remove loopholes that prevent the federal government from quickly removing Central American immigrants.
Obama will be traveling to Texas late Tuesday where he attend three fundraisers and will discuss the immigration problem with local lawmakers. He is not scheduled to visit the border.
“The Appropriations Committee and other Members, including the working group on the border crisis led by Rep. Kay Granger, will review the White House proposal,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.
“The Speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas – which this proposal does not address.”