White House to seek billions in new funds for border crisis

14:11 | 02/05/2019 Global Economy

The White House is expected to soon ask Congress for billions of dollars in emergency funding to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to multiple sources, although none of these funds will be used for a border wall.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to shut down all or part of the southern border if Mexico does not cut off the flow of migrants trying to enter the United States - Getty Images

The request,which has been under discussion for about a month inside the White House, could come as soon as this week, said the sources, although the timing is still unclear.

The supplemental spending request is likely run into resistance from House Democrats, still upset over President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency and divert Pentagon funds to his border wall project. Democrats and others have sued Trump over that action.

The debate will also give Democrats a chance to question administration officials over Trump's immigration policies, including changes to U.S. asylum regulations, detention of minors and families, and a hugely controversial plan to send migrants to “sanctuary cities,” an idea floated publicly by Trump to heavy Democratic criticism.

In addition to more money for the Homeland Security Department, the White House is also expected to seek additional funds for Health and Human Services and the Justice Department — “every stage of migrant processing,” said one source familiar with the request.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan confirmed the administration’s plans to seek extra money in a hearing with House spending leaders Tuesday.

McAleenan didn’t say how much cash the department would need. But he said the funding request will “address critical humanitarian requirements” and make sure the crisis is handled in a “humane and safe manner.”

Specifically, he said the money would pay for more food, shelter and medical care for hundreds of people — including many families — who attempt to cross the border. It would also help DHS build temporary processing centers, as well as additional personnel and upgrades to what McAleenan called “overtaxed” electronic systems.

There has been a record surge of migrant families arriving at the U.S. border this spring, and DHS has been forced to reassign employees to deal with the influx. Trump has ordered roughly 3,000 active-duty U.S. troops to the border region, in addition to the approximately 2,000 National Guard troops that have also been deployed.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to shut down all or part of the southern border if Mexico does not cut off the flow of migrants trying to enter the United States, a move that could trigger economic problems for both counties.

Theo politico.com