Obama Seeks Extra $1.4 Billion to Deal with Flood of Illegal Unaccompanied Children

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | June 27, 2014 | 10:04 AM EDT

Pres. Obama is seeking an additional $1.4 billion to deal with the flood of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) into the U.S., a Congressional Research Service report reveals.

Obama's FY2015 budget did not originally seek an increase in UAC funding for government agencies - but, on May 30, the administration nearly tripled its UAC budget request for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) by asking for an additional $1.4 billion:

In the President's FY2015 budget for the various agencies responsible for the UAC population (i.e., specifically in HHS/ORR and DHS budgets), there wasn't a request for funding increases to help address what has been characterized as a strain on agency resources.

The FY2015 President's budget request for the HHS/ORR program was originally $868 million, which is the same amount that was appropriated in FY2014. However, on May 30, 2014, the Office of Management and Budget updated its cost projections related to the UAC crisis and requested a total of $2.28 billion for FY2015 for the UAC program in the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

In response, the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies, recommended $1.94 billion, which is $34 million less than the Administration's amended request - but, still more than $1 billion increase over FY2014 levels - in its FY2015 draft appropriations bill on June 10, 2014.

"The subcommittee noted the fluidity of the issue and recommended an expansion of HHS transfer authority "to respond to sudden or urgent needs in the future," the CRS report notes.

The budget bump includes $166 million more for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accommodate the increasing demands of unaccompanied alien children:

For DHS agencies, the Administration's amended request included an additional $166 million for "CBP overtime, contract services for care and support of UAC, and transportation costs."

Previously, DHS appropriators criticized the Administration for not requesting additional funding to deal with the crisis; and on June 10, 2014, the House Committee on Appropriations approved the Administration's amended request of $166 million above the budget request.

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