HHS asks lawmakers for $4.3 billion more to care for unaccompanied migrant children

Immigration

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — In a House hearing Thursday, the Secretary of Health and Human Services answered questions from lawmakers about the proposed budget for that department.

The Department of Health and Human Services is asking Congress for $4.3 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement which handles the care of unaccompanied migrant children.

“I will continue to push for a more transparent program, oversight and monitoring of these facilities especially with these large numbers of children,” said Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro.

DeLauro wants to know what HHS will do to expedite placing the children in the care of safe sponsors.

Washington Congresswoman Jamie Herra Butler is worried sponsors alren’t always vetted.

“This makes me sick, to hear that the FBI vetting is not actually always taking place means that we could be helping traffic children,” said Butler.

“There have been cases in the past, non that I’m aware in the time that I’ve been secretary. But there have been cases in the past where a child has ended up in the hands of someone who’s either trafficked them for sex or for labor,” stated HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Becerra told lawmakers proper vetting takes time and in the meantime his department cares for the children.

“While they are with us we are hoping to provide them not only with the medical services that you would expect for any child, but also the care which would include educational and recreational services,” said Becerra.

Becerra admitted it is becoming harder to provide all the things required by law due to the high numbers of migrant children still arriving in the U.S.

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