The cost of jailing so many children under Trump’s inhumane immigration policies has gotten so high that the administration plans to take money away from crucial health programs just to pay to house the growing number of detained children, according to a new report.
The Trump administration is currently housing a record number of detained immigrant children, and more are added to the system every day, creating a need for additional shelters and a demand for more funding to deal with the skyrocketing costs.
Instead of, say, not putting more kids in jails, the administration is looking to cover the cost of jailing an increasing number of children by slashing funding for other programs — like cancer research, HIV/AIDS treatment, maternal health services, and mental health and substance abuse programs.
According to a plan laid out by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a letter obtained by Yahoo News, the Trump administration is going to divert an estimated $266 million away from other programs to fund detention centers through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
Most of that money will come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, while about $80 million will be reallocated from refugee assistance programs within ORR as the administration continues to turn away more and more people seeking refuge from violence, war, persecution, and other desperate circumstances.
Currently, the administration has more than 13,000 immigrant children in detention centers. That’s a record-high number and it’s rising rapidly, with five times as many children in detention today compared to last summer.
Many of these detained children crossed the border by themselves and would typically be reunited quickly with relatives. But thanks to the Trump administration’s cruel new posture toward immigrants and the overall chaos of the system, many of those relatives are too scared to come forward or can’t be located at all, causing the children to be detained for longer periods of time and creating a bottleneck in the system.
On top of that, the Trump administration’s inhumane practice of forcibly separating families has produced an entirely new crisis involving traumatized children who were ripped from their parents with no plans to reunite them.
As The New York Times recently described, “The separated children injected a new degree of chaos into the facilities, according to several shelter operators, who spoke anonymously because they are barred by the government from speaking to the news media. The children were younger and more traumatized than those the shelters were used to dealing with, and they arrived without a plan for when they could be released or to whom.”
And apparently, the Trump administration also had no plans to pay for them — so now they’re taking money from cancer research just so Trump can keep throwing kids in jails.
Published with permission of The American Independent.