What’s in the $4.6 Billion Border Aid Bill
Last week, the House and the Senate approved a bipartisan bill addressing the overwhelming population of migrants at detention centers along the border.
The vast majority of the Senate’s legislation is aimed at alleviating the squalid conditions detained migrant children are facing. It sends $2.9 billion to restore the waning resources of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The majority of the remaining funding — some $1.3 billion — will go to the Department of Homeland Security. The bulk of this appropriation is designated for Customs and Border Patrol to improve the conditions in border facilities, expand medical care, and provide better access to essential items like clothing, hygiene products and baby formula. According to The New York Times, these improvements would not include more beds at detention facilities.
Among the provisions in the Senate bill that originally met resistance in the House was $145 million allocated to the Department of Defense to fund military expenses along the border, including facility maintenance, medical assistance and surveillance and enforcement operations. Democrats sought to keep the Pentagon out of any border aid efforts.
Also drawing pushback on the House side were appropriations in the Senate bill for enforcement, including more than $200 million in funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and $110 million in overtime funding for Customs and Border Protection employees.
The bill provides improvements to the condition of current migrant detainees; however, this can’t be a long-term solution. The bill did not include enough help with enforcement along the border, which would prevent the overflow of migrants. How much more funding will our federal government bleed to prolong the immigration crisis before it becomes a more serious issue?