- The Department of Health and Human Services moved more than $2 billion from COVID-related relief funds to help the situation at the border.
- At the southern border, there’s been an influx of migrants seeking entrance into the country.
- US officials have struggled to respond to the surge.
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The Biden administration is funneling more than $2 billion toward the care of migrant children by and along the southern border, Politico reported.
That money had originally been earmarked to go toward various measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to Politico.
The Department of Health and Human Services said $850 million will come from funds originally intended to expand testing for COVID-19, Politico reported.
Another $850 million will be taken out of a fund set aside to help the country rebuild its emergency stockpile of medical items like masks, respirators, and gloves. The Strategic National Stockpile is meant to support the country as it deals with an emergency, but the pandemic has basically emptied it.
Another $436 million coming from various health initiatives will also be diverted to support children at the border, according to Politico.
At the US-Mexico border, there’s been an influx of migrants seeking entrance to the US and fleeing unfavorable or difficult conditions in their home countries.
In response to the surge, the Biden administration opened several temporary federal shelters, and as of early May, Us officials are holding about 22,500 unaccompanied children.
There’s concern that officials have struggled to adequately care for these migrant children. There are reports, for example, that say migrant children are not receiving enough food or appropriate mental health care.
Earlier this year, the public got a first look inside the facility after a Congressional representative leaked photos to the media. One facility showed adults and children sitting in what appeared to be makeshift rooms separating out groups of people.
Each room was cordoned off by what looks like a plastic enclosure, drawing comparisons to jail cells. Dozens of masked children can be seen lying down on gray mats. Some were crowded into corners, despite the threat of the coronavirus spreading. Others appeared to sit on the floor.
Such conditions have caused lawmakers and human-rights experts to sound the alarms and argue that migrant children should have better treatment upon crossing the border.
HHS did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment. But speaking to Politico, HHS spokesperson Mark Weber explained the department is collaborating with the Office of Management and Budget to respond to the influx of migrant at the border.
“All options are on the table,” Weber said. “This program has relied, year after year, on the transfer of funds.”