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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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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Reps. Matt Gaetz, left, and Marjorie Taylor Greene on their "America First" tour.

Photo from Rep. Matt Gaetz's verified Twitter

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

At a time when Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is facing a federal sex trafficking investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has jumped to his defense and joined forces with him for a fundraising tour. The far-right MAGA Republicans are both aggressive fundraisers, repeatedly stressing their unwavering devotion to former President Donald Trump. But according to Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger, the Gaetz/Greene tour has "spent four times as much as" it has raised.

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