Immigration

HHS is Diverting Money From Health Care, Pre-School to Immigrant Detention

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We already know the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has diverted money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Coast Guard to pay for increased immigrant detention, but other areas of the federal government are also diverting funds to pay for it.

Yahoo News obtained documents showing that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will divert money from early childhood education and even cancer programs to pay for detention.

In a letter sent to Sen. Patty Murray, D.-Wash., and obtained by Yahoo News, HHS Secretary Alex Azar outlined his plan to reallocate up to $266 million in funding for the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, to the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Nearly $80 million of that money will come from other refugee support programs within ORR, which have seen their needs significantly diminished as the Trump administration makes drastic cuts to the annual refugee numbers. The rest is being taken from other programs, including $16.7 million from Head Start, $5.7 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program and $13.3 million from the National Cancer Institute. Money is also being diverted from programs dedicated to mental and maternal health, women’s shelters and substance abuse.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement -- the office receiving the funds diverted from these others programs -- is the same office that tried to block a teenager in their custody from obtaining an abortion after she was raped.

Nothing says "pro-life" quite like diverting money from maternal health programs and women's shelters to pay for more immigrant detention, right?

If Democrats regain control of oversight in Congress, they'll have so many things to investigate one could easily lose track of it all, but oversight over the Trump regime's immigration policy must be among their top priorities alongside the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria and Trump's obvious self-dealing through his golf courses.