The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) appears to be preparing for the possibility of another surge in family separations, according to internal ORR documents reviewed by Slate.
Slate reports that the Trump administration would pay for additional costs incurred to detain thousands more children by diverting money from the budget of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which makes medical care more accessible for more than half a million uninsured and underinsured people each year.
According to the site, ORR is preparing for a potential scenario in which the administration’s border policies might require as many as 25,400 beds for immigrant minors by the end of the calendar year.
ORR documents project that the additional detentions would leave a budget shortfall of $585 million in fiscal year 2018, and $1.3 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
Slate notes that “the process of transferring those HIV/AIDS funds has already begun.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is already holding more than 11,800 children.
The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, recently stated that somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 of those children were separated from their parents at the border.
David Stacy, the Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Government Affairs, told pinkNews: “This administration’s cruelty toward undocumented children and families has been unconscionable.
“Now, we learn they are considering diverting funds from programs to provide health care for people living with HIV and medical support for refugees in order to pay for this president’s heartless obsession with imprisoning kids.
“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is one of our nation’s premier public health efforts, and it is unthinkable that this administration would divert funds away from HIV treatment to fund its cruel attacks on kids and families at the border.”
Vice President Mike Pence once pledged to drain funding from the program in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy.
On a 2000 Congressional campaign website, Pence wrote: “Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”