President Barack Obama notified Congress that he will transfer $405 million from various Department of Homeland Security programs to deal with immigration problems on the Mexican border, a senior administration official told Efe Monday.
The measure was adopted because Congress left for their August recess without agreeing on the provision of funds to cope with the massive arrivals of unaccompanied children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
One month ago, Obama asked for $3.7 billion to take charge of those children, but conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to approve that amount.
“The president has said this is a subject he will not ignore. Members of the administration have been working overtime and have been able to halt the avalanche of immigrant children. But without the help of Congress, the agencies will simply lack the funds they need, and this government has had to take some difficult decisions,” the official said.
The DHS formally advised Congress last Friday of its intention to transfer funds to keep the agencies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection from running out of money.
House Republicans managed to pass late Friday a bill providing $694 million. But the White House and Senate Democrats rejected the proposal because it calls for changing existing law to expedite deportations of Central American minors.
An estimated 60,000 children have come unaccompanied to the United States over the past 10 months, forcing the government to set up shelters to take them in.