According to a new report, more than $60 million a week is being spent to house the unaccompanied children jammed into border facilities, with those costs expected to climb.
Although the Biden administration has not provided detailed cost data about the fiscal side of its handling of the border crisis, The Washington Post based the estimate on a cost-per-migrant provided by the federal government as well as estimates of the numbers of minors currently in federal facilities.
The Biden administration has created 10 emergency shelters where the cost per day is far higher than the $290 per day at the permanent centers operated by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, said the cost per child is “approximately $775 per day based on past experience.”
He said the cost is higher in emergency facilities “due to the need to develop facilities quickly and hire significant staff over a short period of time.”
The Post estimated there are currently 8,500 children in HHS facilities, with another 4,000 awaiting placement while they are held on Customs and Border Protection facilities. As minors are spending an average of 31 days in federal custody before being released, the Post estimated each illegal immigrant minor is costing the U.S. $24,000, not including the time they spend in the custody of Border Patrol.
The real cost goes well beyond $60 million a week.
Emergency sites created by Customs and Border Protection only add to the staggering bill. The CBP site in Donna, Texas, costs about $16 million per month, according to the agency.
Although members of the Biden administration have suggested migrants wanting to enter the country illegally should wait for some unspecified time, the Post said the administration does not expect any slowdown in border crossings. They also anticipate 22,000 to 26,000 unaccompanied minors will arrive each month starting in September, sending the costs far beyond $60 million per week.
The HHS Administration for Children and Families received $47.5 billion through the coronavirus relief bill jammed through Congress by Democrats. Further, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has the authority to move funding around within his agency to cover whatever the costs become.
“HHS is committed to ensuring all unaccompanied children referred to our custody are cared for appropriately,” Wolfe said. “To do so, we make every effort to ensure funds are used as effectively as possible to provide safe shelter and adequate services and that costs are contained to the degree possible.”
Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said he is concerned the Biden administration is rushing the vetting process due to the flood of migrants.
“Since 2015, my bipartisan oversight has shown, over two administrations, that federal agencies must do a better job of ensuring the safety and security of these vulnerable children,” Portman said in a statement.
“The U.S. federal government should not repeat the mistakes of prior administrations and hand these vulnerable children off to traffickers or other abusive situations, and there must be accountability to ensure the government can keep track of the children as they make their way through the legal system,” he said.
Costs are not the only issue. On Wednesday, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said there were reports of child sex abuse in a convention center being used to house illegal immigrant children. Abbott said Texas authorities will investigate the allegations.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.