FIRST ON FOX: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has notified Congress that it’s going to switch an extra $589 million, a few of which comes from funding marked for COVID-19 vaccination efforts, to its program to shelter unaccompanied migrant children who’ve entered the U.S. on the southern border — a part of greater than $4 billion that has been diverted to this system this yr.
HHS knowledgeable Congress that it’s diverting $225 million in National Institute of Health (NIH) funding that was a part of the December COVID-19 reduction invoice to the unaccompanied children (UAC) program, in addition to $364 million in HHS funding that was handed as a part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a congressional supply informed Fox News. Data shared with Fox News confirms that supply’s account.
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Of the ARP funding, $187.5 million had been marked for the Centers for Disease Control for “vaccine planning, distribution, monitoring and monitoring” and an extra $25 million for “vaccine confidence actions.” Meanwhile $151 million of the diverted funding had been tagged for the “Supply Chain for Vaccines, Therapeutics and Medical Supplies.”
The Biden administration has been dealing with a surge in migration on the southern border, which rapidly changed into a full-blown border disaster with pictures of migrants packed into services throughout the border. The Biden administration has targeted on getting unaccompanied children out of Border Patrol custody and into HHS care — earlier than they’re united with sponsors, usually a guardian or mum or dad already in the nation.
The variety of unaccompanied children coming to the border elevated 24% between June and July — with 18,962 encounters in July in contrast to 15,234 in June. It means Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been encountering a mean of 1,363 a day. There are at the moment greater than 14,000 children and youngsters in HHS custody.
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HHS informed Fox News that the quantities being transferred weren’t deliberate for any ongoing vaccine actions, and that they due to this fact no affect on the administration’s vaccination efforts. A spokesperson additionally stated that the Trump administration had left behind an under-resourced UAC program with lower than half of the capability wanted, and failed to activate extra mattress capability in 2020 whilst numbers of unaccompanied children coming to the border started to improve in the latter half of the yr.
“The Unaccompanied Children program has lengthy relied on funding transfers to meet its mission, and this yr faces the extra expense of rebuilding a decimated system whereas taking pandemic-related security precautions, equivalent to testing and social distancing,” an HHS spokesperson informed Fox News.
“We notified Congress on Aug. 16 of our intent to make extra funds obtainable to this system to cowl pandemic-related price will increase and to make sure the continued well being and security of children and employees, and can guarantee this switch – as with prior ones – doesn’t disrupt different HHS actions,” the spokesperson stated. “We additionally proceed to name on Congress to make investments in long-needed programmatic reforms to lower this system’s long-standing reliance on funding transfers and scale back the time it takes to unify children with households.”
The company additionally famous that it had wanted extra funding for this system in 2019, when the Trump administration had sought $3 billion in further funding throughout that yr’s border disaster amongst different comparable transfers to this system, and that pandemic-related precautions added no less than an additional $2 billion in prices to this system..
The latest switch is one among a quantity which have taken place in latest months because the U.S. tries to deal with the disaster on the border.
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According to the information offered to Fox News, $1.2 billion was transferred to this system in April, together with $850 million from the December reduction supplemental. In May, $850 million was moved from ARP funding designated for testing, tracing and COVID-19 mitigation.
In June there was $846.5 million transferred from ARP funding, and in July an extra $860 million was transferred from the COVID supplemental. It implies that the full transferred to the UAC program this yr is $4.43 billion by HHS.
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The administration has acknowledged that the disaster on the border is a critical problem, whereas typically holding off on calling it a disaster. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has stated that the administration’s plan to resolve the disaster — which features a give attention to root causes and opening authorized asylum pathways — will work however will take time.
“The extent of the problem shouldn’t be understated, however nor ought to our potential to meet it,” he stated this month.
More just lately, the administration has targeted extra on deportations — together with extending Title 42 public well being protections and flying migrants deeper into the inside who’ve been turned away through these protections.