President Obama is calling on Congress to appropriate $3.7 billion to stem what has been called a humanitarian crisis of families and unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the Southwest border.
Families and children are fleeing escalating violence plaguing Central America’s Northern Triangle, and the funds, if netted, will go toward taking an “aggressive approach on both sides of the border,” according to a White House official.
That’s $3.7 billion the administration hopes will deter families from living in the shadows, speed up the removal process, address the crisis’s root causes, increase prosecution of criminal networks smuggling children across the border, and more. It’s a multipronged approach that would send funding to the various departments — such as Homeland Security, Justice, Health and Human Services, and State — and other international programs.
Here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of the emergency supplemental request to curb the crisis.
$1.1 BILLION FOR IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: This would help pay for transportation costs associated with apprehending unaccompanied children, to the tune of $116 million. It would also help detain and and remove undocumented adults with children; expand alternatives to detention programs, such as ankle bracelets; and provide additional immigration and customs-enforcement efforts and expand ICE’s investigatory programs.
$433 MILLION FOR CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Crews could log 16,526 more flight hours for aerial surveillance of the border — an expansion that has a $39.4 million price tag. A large portion of the $433 million would pay for costs associated with apprehending more children and families at the border, such as overtime and temporary pay for Border Patrol agents and the care of children placed in CBP protection.
$64 MILLION FOR DOJ: About 40 more immigration judge teams would be hired. Additionally, the number of immigration litigation attorneys and legal representatives for children would increase.
$300 MILLION FOR STATE DEPARTMENT AND INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS: The administration hopes to counteract smugglers’ misinformation that migrants will be allowed to stay in the United States. About $5 million would support media campaigns in Central America emphasizing the dangers of the journey to cross the border. The other $295 million will go toward reintegrating migrants into their home country and addressing the economic and social disparities causing families and children to cross the border.
$1.8 BILLION FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Central American children are placed in HHS hands after they cross the border, and these funds will go toward providing appropriate care for the kids.
What We're Following See More »
"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.