The US Department of Health and Human Services is transferring millions of dollars from other programs — including at the National Institute of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — to pay for the housing of detained undocumented immigrant children, Yahoo News reports.
HHS tells CNN that there are more than 13,000 children in custody, and CNN adds that this record-high number of detained children has strained the program.
In a letter to Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) obtained by Yahoo News, HHS Secretary Alex Azar outlines how the agency plans to reallocate some $266 million to the Unaccompanied Alien Children program. According to CNN, Azar plans to divert funds from a number of different programs: $16.7 million from the CDC, including $3.8 million from HIV programs; $9.8 million from Medicare and Medicaid programs; and $87.3 million from the National Institutes of Health, including $13.3 million from the National Cancer Institute.
Yahoo News notes that HHS has previously had to draw on funds from other programs to pay for housing migrant children. The children, it adds, have been spending more time in custody due to policy changes making it more difficult to release them to sponsors.