President Trump wants another $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The funding request is the first major move by the White House to respond to what it calls a ‘humanitarian crisis’ at the Southern border and intensifies an ongoing funding battle over border security, just four months after the issue led to a paralyzing 35-day government shutdown,” reports Politico.
A “senior administration official” told reporters that none of the $4.5 billion would be used to build Trump’s border wall, adding that “the situation at the border becomes more and more dire each day.”
The request includes about $3.3 billion to house unaccompanied migrant children, care for migrants in custody and staff processing centers.
But it also calls for $1.1 billion for border security operations, including 23,600 additional detention beds, which Politico calls “a polarizing issue for House Democrats and a sticking point in the shutdown battle.”
“Democrats have questioned the billions of dollars that President Trump previously requested in his budget for border security and are embroiled in a lawsuit over Mr. Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to build a border wall,” says the New York Times.
As a result, the Times says, the request “is unlikely to pass without changes through the Democratic-controlled House.”
Russell Vought, acting director of the White House Budget Office, wrote in a letter to Congress that the new funding “will enable federal agencies to address the immediate humanitarian and security crisis” at the border, citing “an unprecedented rise in the numbers and composition of the migrant population.”
Vought said if the new request is rejected, funds would have to be diverted from other programs and agencies.
House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) said Democrats would carefully review the request but expressed some skepticism, Politico says.
“The Trump administration appears to want much of this … request to double down on cruel and ill-conceived policies, including bailing out ICE for overspending on detention beds and expanding family detention,” Lowey said in a statement. “Locking up people who pose no threat to the community for ever-longer periods of time is not a solution to the problems at the border.“