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Monday, October 24, 2016

Washington (AFP) — As U.S. lawmakers grapple with ways to slash spending, many were shocked to learn authorities are spending $250 to $1,000 per day to care for each minor apprehended crossing the U.S. border.

More than 57,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Central America, have been caught entering the country illegally since last October, and President Barack Obama has asked for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address what he has called an “urgent humanitarian solution.”

“One of the figures that sticks in everybody’s mind is we’re paying about $250 to $1,000 per child,” Senator Jeff Flake told reporters, citing figures presented at a closed-door briefing by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

“A lot of people were very troubled coming out of there.”

Federal authorities are struggling to find more cost-effective housing, medical care, counseling, and legal services for the undocumented minors.

Some $1.8 billion of Obama’s emergency supplemental would be allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services to address those needs.

The base cost per bed was $250 per day, including other services, Senator Dianne Feinstein said, without providing details.

“It goes up to $1,000 per day if you have to contract temporarily,” she added. “That’s what they’re trying to avoid.”

Senator Marco Rubio, who like Flake is a Republican who helped craft a comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate but has died in the House, said lawmakers “were shocked at the figures.”

“I think now we’re starting to see the human costs and the economic costs of providing care for those who have entered the country illegally, and it behooves us to address this as quickly as possible.”

U.S. officials predict some 30,000 more unaccompanied children will cross the border by the end of September, and that 145,000 will be apprehended next year.

AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • elw

    There is no doubt that taking care of those children is expensive. But so are the people who have been sent to Washington to deal with problems like this. Instead of focusing on only the cost involved how about dropping the political show and find a solution to the problem. Remember the operative word is “children” I know it is hard for Republicans to grasped this concept but that is what those cells you work so hard to keep in a woman’s body turn into – so how is the finished product something to throw away or to used as political theater to help you and no one else. Fix the problem by passing a good immigration bill and finding ways to fund humane treatment of these children that have done nothing wrong but being born in the wrong place.

  • Lami

    A one-way trip back to where they came from would be a lot less expensive. That’s what most Americans would like to see happen