GOP offers $4.6B border ‘humanitarian’ plan, 86% for ‘migrant care’ – Washington Examiner

Senate Republicans Wednesday offered up a $4.6 billion package for humanitarian assistance on the U.S.-Mexico border, with the bulk going to improve migrant care and relieve the crisis of a record number of illegal immigrants arriving at the border.

At a bill markup hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, the package offered by Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby also included funding for 30 new immigration judges to speed the processing of illegal immigrants, a provision supported earlier in the day by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

It is based on President Trump’s earlier request for humanitarian aid. It is targeted to help immigration agencies that have been overwhelmed by the crush of a record number of illegal immigrants arriving at the border.

Trump did not request extra wall funding in the humanitarian package. However, the committee is considering $145 million for the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Army National Guard for their operating expenses along the border that includes surveillance.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been forceful in pushing for approval of the spending plan first offered by Trump. He has said that if the Appropriations Committee can’t find agreement on it, he would propose a separate bill for the full Senate to vote on next week.

He has argued that since the package includes no wall funding and is focused on the crisis on the border, Democrats should get behind it. Democrats, however, have shown little support despite crying out at the poor border conditions the humanitarian aid would help to fix.

“I’m going to bring it up freestanding next week and see if they really aren’t interested in dealing with this massive humanity that we have to take care of at the border,” McConnell said on Fox. “What’s the objection? This is not about the wall but about the humanitarian crisis.”

Below are many of the details in the package before the committee:

  • $65 million to hire 30 new immigration judges and help educate detained immigrants on the legal process.
  • $155 million to U.S. Marshals Service for prisoner transportation, housing, care.
  • $1.1 billion for Customs and Border Protection to improve conditions at border entry points, transportation, medical care and items like clothing, baby formula and other essential items.
  • $204 million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for transportation of illegals, medical care, and “alternatives to detention.”
  • $30 million to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the care of “homeless migrants.”
  • $2.88 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services for the care of unaccompanied alien children.

In making the case for the UAC funding, the leadership noted that 51,000 children have referred to HHS through May, a 60% increase over last year.

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