Internal documents obtained by Slate show that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is not only preparing for a potential surge in the number of child migrants forcibly separated from their parents—the agency plans to pay for the additional cost by siphoning money away from a critical HIV/AIDS treatment program.
In addition to what essentially amounts to stealing funds from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which helps more than half a million uninsured and underinsured people access medical care every year, ORR also plans on shifting $79 million from other refugee resettlement programs, a “move that could imperil social services, medical assistance, and English language instructions for refugees in the U.S., as well as programs for torture survivors,” Slate reports.
As for how many more migrant children ORR expects to receive, the documents reveal that the agency has planned for scenarios where up to 25,400 children are in its custody by the end of the year. That’s more than double the current number. While the numbers represent only one possible scenario, Mark Greenberg, the former head of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families under President Obama and now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, noted, “This envisions having further family separation cases coming to HHS—a lot of them.”
Slate explained further:
Some of the additional beds would presumably go to minors who arrive at the border unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. But given the claim in the documents that referrals would increase after a pause on family separations, it appears ORR believes a substantial number of those beds would indeed go to children separated from their parents.
On a completely unrelated note, I just happened to remember that the F-35 fighter jet beloved by the Pentagon costs just under $100 million apiece. Hmmm.