By Seung Min Kim
December 14, 2015
The Obama administration is warning Congress that it may face “serious funding challenges” in aiding unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America, following a considerable spike in the number of children trying to cross the southern border in the last two months.
In a letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said the Administration for Children and Families — the HHS agency responsible for caring for the migrant children — could face significant funding problems, even with budget numbers requested by President Barack Obama, because of the rising numbers of unaccompanied children.
“While it is impossible to know if these trends will continue for the duration of the fiscal year, we are very concerned about having adequate resources to meet the needs of the unaccompanied children that are being referred for HHS services,” Burwell wrote in the letter obtained by POLITICO.
This October and November, 10,588 minors traveling alone to the United States were apprehended at the southern border, according to federal officials — more than double the number of children who tried to cross from Mexico in the same period in 2014.
The rising numbers are reviving concerns that played out in summer 2014, when a substantial surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America triggered a funding battle in Congress and prompted then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry to deploy National Guard troops to the border.
Obama administration officials recently said they will open new shelters in Texas and California to accommodate the children, whom Burwell emphasized are fleeing their home countries due to several factors including “economic instability, drought, and violence in Central America.”
By law, the unaccompanied migrant children — who mostly hail from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — are taken into custody of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for their care.
“Given our statutory role, I am writing to reiterate the urgency and importance of ensuring HHS has adequate resources to provide shelter and referral services to these children,” Burwell wrote to DeLauro.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com