The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is reportedly not only anticipating a huge influx of migrant child forcibly separated from their parents but has also come up with an heartless plan to fund the child prisons. Apparently, they are going to take away money from a pivotal HIV/AIDS program.
The agency is considering the possibility of siphoning off money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, which provides treatment to around 500,000 uninsured and underinsured people each year. The ORR also plans to redirect $79 million from other refugee resettlement initiatives as well, “a move that could imperil social services, medical assistance, and English language instructions for refugees in the U.S., as well as programs for torture survivors,” according to Slate reporter Mark Joseph Stern.
Currently, the ORR has around 11,800 children in its care. Around 3,000 of these children were forcibly taken away from their parents at the border while the remaining children are unaccompanied minors who entered the United States without a guardian.
Now, according to the ORR documents, the agency is anticipating the possibility of 25,400 children in its custody by the end of the year. That’s double the number of children the agency has right now. To cover the cost of this astronomical increase, the ORR could face a shortage of $585 million for 2018. To make matters worse, the cost could go up to $1.3 billion for 2019.
To cover up the gaping shortage, ORR will seek monetary assistance from the HIV/AIDS treatment fund. According to Slate, the transfer of money has already begun.
Although the ORR did not explain where the surge of children would come from, Mark Greenberg, the former head of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families under President Obama, who now works for Migration Policy Institute, believes “This envisions having further family separation cases coming to HHS—a lot of them.”
Greenberg also said the documents indicate ORR may seek even more funds for handling detained and unaccompanied children. He said “the entire appropriation for unaccompanied alien children this year was $1.3 billion and the agency now wants “an additional $1.3 billion” for the rest of the year.
If what ORR predicts is correct and the number of detained children will be doubled, it means the critical financing needed to care for half a million patients with HIV/AIDS will be put in jeopardy.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters