Today the Obama Administration announced it's 3.7 billion dollar request to stem the tide of unaccompanied minors children at our nation's borders. In recent months, the U.S. has witnessed a sharp increase of children arriving from Mexico and Central American countries. The breakdown of that mammoth request is driven by political concerns rather than actually an attempt to solve the problem.
Every immigration decision is two pronged; some factors are pushing the migrant to leave their home country, and other considerations are drawing them to the United States, as opposed to another nation as a final destination. In recent days, there has been media coverage of the changes in immigration law that have led to this current crisis of so many children traveling alone and risking their lives to reach the U.S. That may explain while unprecedented numbers are trying to get to the U.S. But according to a recent report, the minors are leaving their home country because of the desperate poverty, widespread violence, and a desire to reunite with other family members.
The breakdown of the $3.7 billion dollar request does not seem to reflect the reality of the migration calculus. It is as follows (h/t Phil Wolgin):
-$1.8 million to the Department of Health and Human Services for the care of the migrants.
-$1.1 billion to the Department of Homeland Security for the detention, prosecution, apprehension, and removal of the migrants.
-$433 million to Customs and Border Protection for apprehension of migrants.
-$300 million to the Department of State, of which $295 million is to help governments of the sending countries be aware of and to address the problems that cause people to leave.
-$64 million to the Department of Justice for more staff to process the deportations and some funds for the legal representation of some of the minors.
The bottom line is this, most of the $3.7 billion is going to enforcement and repatriation, some of it is going to the care of the immigrants while they are in the U.S., and less than 10% of the funds is going to address push factors in the sending countries. If one wants to address the root causes of this phenomenon, it would appear that the breakdown of the spending will not actually do that and this itemization is a political response to what should be treated as a humanitarian crisis.