The surge in the flow of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border from Mexico was generously addressed with money by the Obama administration.
The Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program has been unable to address the increasing demand and has received coordinated assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to a study released by the Center for Immigration Studies, demand still greatly outpaces resources.
The number of apprehended unaccompanied alien children (UACs) grew to 69,000 in 2014 from 8,000 in 2008. The number is expected to increase to about 75,000 in 2017.
In early 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry announced, “I am pleased to announce that we have plans to expand the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in order to help vulnerable families and individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and offer them a safe and legal alternative to the dangerous journey that many are tempted to begin, making them at that instant easy prey for human smugglers who have no interest but their own profits.”
U.S. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement in January, “We must offer alternatives to those who are fleeing the poverty and violence in Central America.”
In order to meet what he called “unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs,” President Obama requested a total of $1.321 billion in funding for FY 2017 for the Unaccompanied Children (UC) program, which was a $278 million increase over FY 2016.
The budget for each unaccompanied child for FY 2017 would cost $17,613 = $1,321 / 75,000. That budgeted amount is up from $8,217 per child in 2010.
The Washington Examiner pointed out that this $17,613 per child figure budgeted by the Obama administration exceeds the $14,772 average Social Security retirement benefit paid out to seniors who receive benefits from the government.
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