The White House sent Congress a $4.5 billion emergency spending request for the border on Wednesday, citing an unfolding “humanitarian and security crisis” as record numbers of Central American families seek entrance into the United States.
The request includes $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance and $1.1 billion for border operations, and represents a dramatic escalation of the administration’s efforts to address the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The money is on top of more than $8 billion that President Donald Trump sought in his budget request, as well as some $6 billion more in funding he sought through his declaration of a national emergency at the border.
Democrats are certain to look skeptically at the new request, which comes as Trump prepares to run for re-election on a hardline immigration agenda. It also comes as Congress in the midst of a fight over a different emergency spending bill, for disaster aid.
“The situation becomes more dire each day. The migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis is rapidly overwhelming the ability of the Federal Government to respond,” White House acting budget director Russ Vought wrote in the request.
Vought said that the Health and Human Services Department is close to running out of money to provide child welfare services at the border, and if it does, it will have to divert critical resources from other programs.
The request also includes $377 million for the Pentagon and National Guard for their operations along the border.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Erica Werner