The Trump administration is moving upwards of $266 million to continue covering the costs of housing the increasing number of detained immigrant children.
A letter from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, obtained and first reported by Yahoo, outlines the plan to reallocate nearly $80 million of funding from refugee support programs. The rest will come from other programs, including money for cancer research and HIV/AIDS prevention.
That shift in resources, first reported as a possibility in July, includes $5.7 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, and $13 million from the National Cancer Institute.
According to data from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, 13,312 immigrant children are in federal custody, as of yesterday, with its facilities at 92% capacity. The New York Times reported last week the number of detained immigrant children in the U.S. reached record highs over this past year, increasing from 2,400 children in May of 2017 to 12,800 earlier this month.
“These transfers are only a temporary solution to the sad consequence of a broken immigration system,” HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan told The Hill.
He added that so far the only funds that have been reallocated in this fiscal year are $17 million in unspent funds from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, and stressed that the move was within Azar’s power as HHS Secretary.
“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is one of our nation’s premier public health efforts, and it is unthinkable that the Trump-Pence administration would divert funds away from HIV treatment to fund its cruel attacks on kids and families at the border,” the Human Rights Campaign wrote on Twitter back when the news broke of the possibility of reallocation.
Undoubtedly, this is a move that the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS would object to, had all remaining members not been fired by Donald Trump via FedEx late last year.