The Department of Health and Human Services has taken money out of Medicare and other programs to help fund the housing and caring for undocumented immigrant youths, according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) think tank in a Nov. 28 report.
The agency is attempting to come up with $167 million to fund its Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is taking care of the migrant youths, the report said. The story was broken by the Washington Examiner.
“An average of 255 illegal alien youths were taken into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) every day this month, according to the latest figures the agency provided to Congress,” said Jessica Vaughan, of the CIS, in a statement on the group’s website.
She added: “This is the largest number of illegal alien children ever in the care of the federal government. To pay for it, the agency says it will need an additional one or two billion dollars for the next year—above and beyond the $1.2 billion spent in 2016 and proposed for 2017—depending on how many more arrive.”
As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services will have to divert some $167 million from other programs to cover the costs for new immigrant arrivals until Dec. 9.
“Shelters, health care, schooling, recreation, and other services” will be covered under the diverted funds, Vaughan said, “for the new illegal arrivals, who typically were brought to the border by smugglers paid by their parents, who often are living in the United States illegally.”
According to the CIS, Barbara Clark of the Department of Health and Human Services’ legislative liaison office sent an email on Nov. 28 regarding the issue.
“Daily referrals of unaccompanied children averaged 247 over the last seven days, and 255 so far in November. For comparison, referrals averaged 185 per day in November of FY 2016 and 64 per day in November of FY 2015. As of November 27, 2016, the number of children in ORR care is approximately 11,200,” she wrote, said Vaughn.
Citing her sources, Vaughn detailed a list:
- $14 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration, including $4.5 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and $2 million from the Maternal and Child Health program;
- $14 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for contagious disease prevention and treatment and other critical public health programs;
- $72 million from the National Institutes of Health, for research on cancer, diabetes, drug abuse, mental health, infectious diseases and much more;
- $8 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, for treatment and prevention programs;
- $8 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
- $39 million from the Children and Families Services Program;
- $4 million from the Aging and Disability Services Programs;
- $3 million from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, including more than $1 million from the Pandemic Influenza and BioShield Fund.