The White House requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding Tuesday, which would be divided among several government agencies, to address the surge of tens of thousands of children who have crossed the United States border.
The $3.7 figure is considerably higher than President Obama’s original expected request, which was $2 billion back in June.
A large portion of those funds, $1.8 billion, would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to provide better housing and care to the children and parents accompanying them. Housing for the immigrants has become unsurprisingly scarce, and HHS has been utilizing Department of Defense buildings in California, Texas and Oklahoma.
The Department of Justice would receive $64 million to hire more immigration judges and provide legal counsel to children undergoing removal procedures. Officials say that the White House will also seek a change in federal law that will accelerate deportation proceedings.
The Department of Homeland Security would get $1.1 billion to boost immigration and customs enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection would receive $433 million. $300 million would go to the Department of State to assist Central American countries in repatriating the deported civilians.
The White House has asserted that the funds are needed to cover costs like increased man hours from border patrol agents, increased surveillance, and temporary care and legal services for the inpouring of immigrants.
“The law will be enforced,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday. “And what that means is it means that these children who have been apprehended will go through the immigration court process and if they are found to not have a legal basis for remaining in this country, they’ll be returned.” Earnest also said that the majority of the immigrating children would be unqualified for humanitarian relief.
Over 52,000 immigrants have crossed the border since last October. Obama has criticized Republicans for stalling immigration reform, while Republicans have accused Obama of willful ignorance surrounding the influx, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, who said last month, “I’ve known about this for two years. The president has known about this.” Obama and Perry plan to discuss the issue on Wednesday.
The request of funding will go to a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.