Young men walk in line under the watch of a security officer at the Homestead Temporary Shelter For Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Fla. (Joe Skipper/Getty Images)(WASHINGTON) — The Trump administration is “scaling back or discontinuing” paying for activities for the estimated 13,000 undocumented migrant kids living in shelters across the U.S., “including education services, legal services and recreation.”
Mark Weber, a spokesman for the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, said it was pulling back on its activities “that are not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety.”
The Trump administration has asked Congress for $2.9 billion in emergency funds to care for migrant kids. The administration says some 9,000 children and teens not accompanied by their parents arrived at the border in the month of April alone and that the tally for May is expected to be even higher than that.
HHS runs shelters around the country for the kids until they can be released to a sponsor, usually a parent or other relative already residing in the U.S.
Congress has signaled a willingness to pay for the migrant children but Democrats are concerned about giving the administration other money that can be used for separate border security measures.
The federal government has struggled to respond to the influx of migrants. The Homeland Security Department told ABC News last week that some 2,400 minors were waiting at border patrol stations to be picked up by HHS and officials blamed a lack of bed space.
HHS said last week that it wasn’t out of bed space and that it would take any migrant children in need of shelter transported to its facilities via U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security and HHS.
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