The Biden administration’s Health and Human Services Department diverted more than $2 billion meant for COVID-19 relief to the cost of caring for thousands of child migrants who have come across the southern border as the White House continues to struggle to get a border crisis under control.
The money, Politico reported Sunday, comes from a fund meant to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile with personal protective and other medical equipment and from a “pot intended to expand coronavirus testing.”
“The Department of Health and Human Services has diverted more than $2 billion meant for other health initiatives toward covering the cost of caring for unaccompanied immigrant children, as the Biden administration grapples with a record influx of migrants on the southern border,” the outlet noted.
“The redirected funds include $850 million that Congress originally allocated to rebuild the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile, the emergency medical reserve strained by the Covid-19 response,” according to Politico. “Another $850 million is being taken from a pot intended to help expand coronavirus testing, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.”
The Biden administration praised itself last week for shifting tens of thousands of unaccompanied child migrants out of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody but largely failed to acknowledge that only a few hundred of those children were reunited with family members and guardians in the United States. As The Daily Wire reported, most of the 20,000 child migrants simply shifted to Heath and Human Services custody, meaning that the Biden administration is still housing “tens of thousands” of migrant kids, in some cases, with “little oversight.”
The Associated Press reported last week that thousands of children, “from toddlers to teens” remain in U.S. custody, in a network of shelters across the country, many of which are escaping scrutiny. The shelters are, the AP noted, staffed, in some cases, by people who have escaped having to pass an FBI background check, and the children “aren’t guaranteed access to education, recreational opportunities, or legal counsel.”
Around 17,000 children are being held in “mass shelters” and immigration activists are concerned that many of the kids are “isolated, less supervised, and without basic services.”
The $2.13 billion that the Biden administration redirected from COVID-19 relief, Politico added, “exceeds the government’s annual budget for the unaccompanied children program in each of the last two fiscal years,” and it is “far above the roughly half-billion dollars that the Trump administration shifted in 2018 toward sheltering a migrant child population that had swelled as a result of its strict immigration policies.”
At the same time it is diverting funds from the Strategic National Stockpile, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has been petitioning Congress for an additional $905 million for the SNS on the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic could spike again. The Biden administration has not asked Congress to provide any emergency funding for the child migrant crisis, likely because the White House has tried to remain mum on the issue.