The Biden administration unveiled its plan for handling an ongoing immigration crisis in the White House’s $1.5 trillion “discretionary funding request” submitted Friday, asking for billions to house and resettle child migrants and other immigrants who have jumped the United States’ southern border, and for grants to speed United States citizenship requests and asylum claims.
A record number of migrants were taken into custody on the United States-Mexico border last month, and the “child migrant crisis,” which saw nearly 20,000 unaccompanied minors present themselves to authorities at the border in March, shows no signs of abating. It is believed that around 15,500 children remain in United States Customs and Border Protection custody in dozens of facilities scattered across the southwest, in many cases, packed shoulder to shoulder in temporary holding pens, often for longer than the 72-hour period allowed by court order.
Although administration officials have pledged to handle the situation, Vice President Kamala Harris, placed in charge of the border crisis, has yet to hold a press conference on the subject and has no plans to tour border facilities, despite being pressured to make an appearance by both Arizona and Texas officials.
A Sunday report from NBC News claims that Harris has been focused on “behind-the-scenes work, reading up on the issues and attending meetings with experts.” She spent last week, however, touring vaccine facilities in Chicago, touting President Joe Biden’s jobs and gun control plans, and attending “economic briefings.”
On Friday, The Daily Wire reported that the Biden administration was considering paying residents of certain Central American countries not to join migrant caravans, but so far, the White House’s response to the crisis has been severely limited.
CBS News reports that there are clues to the Biden administration’s immigration strategy in its “discretionary funding request” submitted to Congress on Friday — but the funding document makes little mention of border security. Instead, it demands billions to help with “refugee resettlement” and temporary housing for child migrants and to speed up the asylum adjudication process.
“The White House on Friday unveiled the president’s $1.5 trillion discretionary funding request for fiscal year 2022, which serves a preview for a more comprehensive spending plan expected in the late spring. The preliminary spending request to Congress includes several multi-billion-dollar immigration-related allocations for the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Health and Human Services,” the outlet reported.”The proposal allocates $52 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, roughly the same amount provided in 2021.”
Although the Biden administration was reportedly considering a plan to finish the Trump administration’s border wall, the funding request notes only that the White House is looking for funding for “‘effective and modern’ border security” measures, “including plans to revamp ports of entry, expand technology, curtail human and drug smuggling and improve the processing of migrants and asylum-seekers.”
“The request submitted to Congress does not include any funds for wall or barrier construction along the U.S.-Mexico border, which Mr. Biden halted on Inauguration Day,” CBS News notes. “In fact, the plan calls for unused border wall construction funds allocated in 2021 to be canceled.”