FIRST ON FOX: The Division of Well being and Human Companies (HHS) has notified Congress that it’s going to switch an extra $589 million, a few of which comes from funding marked for COVID-19 vaccination efforts, to its program to shelter unaccompanied migrant youngsters who’ve entered the U.S. on the southern border — a part of greater than $Four billion that has been diverted to this system this yr.
HHS knowledgeable Congress that it’s diverting $225 million in Nationwide Institute of Well being (NIH) funding that was a part of the December COVID-19 aid invoice to the unaccompanied youngsters (UAC) program, in addition to $364 million in HHS funding that was handed as a part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a congressional supply instructed Fox Information. Knowledge shared with Fox Information confirms that supply’s account.
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Of the ARP funding, $187.5 million had been marked for the Facilities for Illness Management for “vaccine planning, distribution, monitoring and monitoring” and an extra $25 million for “vaccine confidence actions.” In the meantime $151 million of the diverted funding had been tagged for the “Provide Chain for Vaccines, Therapeutics and Medical Provides.”
The Biden administration has been dealing with a surge in migration on the southern border, which shortly changed into a full-blown border disaster with photographs of migrants packed into amenities throughout the border. The Biden administration has centered on getting unaccompanied youngsters out of Border Patrol custody and into HHS care — earlier than they’re united with sponsors, usually a guardian or mother or father already within the nation.
The variety of unaccompanied youngsters coming to the border elevated 24% between June and July — with 18,962 encounters in July in comparison with 15,234 in June. It means Customs and Border Safety (CBP) has been encountering a median of 1,363 a day. There are at the moment greater than 14,000 youngsters and youngsters in HHS custody.
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HHS instructed Fox Information that the quantities being transferred weren’t deliberate for any ongoing vaccine actions, and that they due to this fact no impression on the administration’s vaccination efforts. A spokesperson additionally stated that the Trump administration had left behind an under-resourced UAC program with lower than half of the capability wanted, and did not activate further mattress capability in 2020 at the same time as numbers of unaccompanied youngsters coming to the border started to extend within the latter half of the yr.
“The Unaccompanied Kids program has lengthy relied on funding transfers to fulfill its mission, and this yr faces the extra expense of rebuilding a decimated system whereas taking pandemic-related security precautions, comparable to testing and social distancing,” an HHS spokesperson instructed Fox Information.
“We notified Congress on Aug. 16 of our intent to make further funds obtainable to this system to cowl pandemic-related value will increase and to make sure the continued well being and security of youngsters and employees, and can guarantee this switch – as with prior ones – doesn’t disrupt different HHS actions,” the spokesperson stated. “We additionally proceed to name on Congress to spend money on long-needed programmatic reforms to lower this system’s long-standing reliance on funding transfers and scale back the time it takes to unify youngsters with households.”
The company additionally famous that it had wanted further funding for this system in 2019, when the Trump administration had sought $three billion in additional funding throughout that yr’s border disaster amongst different related transfers to this system, and that pandemic-related precautions added a minimum of an additional $2 billion in prices to this system..
The most recent switch is one in every of a quantity which have taken place in current months because the U.S. tries to deal with the disaster on the border.
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In accordance with the info supplied to Fox Information, $1.2 billion was transferred to this system in April, together with $850 million from the December aid supplemental. In Might, $850 million was moved from ARP funding designated for testing, tracing and COVID-19 mitigation.
In June there was $846.5 million transferred from ARP funding, and in July an extra $860 million was transferred from the COVID supplemental. It signifies that the full transferred to the UAC program this yr is $4.43 billion by HHS.
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The administration has acknowledged that the disaster on the border is a severe problem, whereas usually holding off on calling it a disaster. Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has stated that the administration’s plan to resolve the disaster — which features a concentrate on root causes and opening authorized asylum pathways — will work however will take time.
“The extent of the problem shouldn’t be understated, however nor ought to our potential to fulfill it,” he stated this month.
Extra just lately, the administration has centered extra on deportations — together with extending Title 42 public well being protections and flying migrants deeper into the inside who’ve been turned away through these protections.
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