White House wants $4.5 billion in emergency border funding

Homeland Security officials have warned of "child recycling", cases where they say children allowed into the U.S. were smuggled back into Central America to be paired up again with other adults in fake families.

The groups, which include the American Civil Liberties Union, say an April 16 decision by U.S. Attorney General William Barr violates the asylum seekers' rights under U.S. law and puts thousands of people at risk of being detained for months or years while they wait for their cases to work their way through a backlogged immigration court system.

Separately, the Defense Department recently said it would be deploying to the border an additional 320 military personnel, including cooks, drivers and lawyers, at a cost of more than $7 million.

"Given the scale of what we are facing, we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year", McAleenan said Tuesday before a congressional committee.

But the White House now wants an extra $3.3 billion to increase shelter capacity for unaccompanied migrant children and for the feeding and care of families, plus transportation and processing centers.

The letter also requests $1.1 billion for operations support on the border, which would be used to address volunteer surge requirements, buy more detention beds, and pay for investigations to counter human smuggling and trafficking.

When the suit was filed against the government in 2017, DHS officials said USA citizens and everyone else are subject to examination and search by customs officials, unless exempted by diplomatic status.

In a legal filing, the agencies said their searches were "a crucial tool for detecting evidence relating to terrorism and other national security matters" and "can also reveal information about financial and commercial crimes".


Department of Homeland Security officials said Wednesday the testing will be limited and voluntary. The remaining $178 million would be used for mission support, including technology upgrades.

The president and his aides previously insisted the February declaration was necessary to address a "humanitarian and national security crisis".

The number of families and children arriving alone to the border is outpacing the number of single adults, and their needs are much different.

McAleenan said he plans to ask Congress to be able to legally keep families with children in custody pending immigration hearings instead of releasing them into the interior to await future court dates. "The migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis is rapidly overwhelming the ability of the Federal Government to respond", White House acting budget director Russ Vought wrote in the request.

"The situation at the border becomes more dire each day", a senior administration official said. Lawyers now say that, through depositions of border agents, they have learned that the scope of the warrantless searches has expanded far beyond the mere enforcement of immigration and customs laws.

It follows the White House's request from a year ago for $5.7 billion for a border wall, of which Congress allocated only $1.4 billion.

The appeal comes after acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told Congress on Tuesday his department needed more money to deal with the influx of illegal migrants pouring across the U.S. -Mexico border.


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