Trump Asks Congress for $4.5 Billion in Emergency Border Funds

In March, Border Patrol agents apprehended 92,607 people, a 38 percent increase over February 2019 and a almost three-fold increase over the same month in 2018.

Advocates said they're anxious that in the name of stopping fraud, agents might take personal information from children that could be used against them later.

CNN reported last week that U.S. Border Patrol began fingerprinting some migrant children 14 and younger because of increased concern about fraud and the trafficking of children. Border apprehensions reached a peak of 1.6 million in 2000 and have been on a decline, reaching a low of 327,577 since then.

"DHS projects it will exhaust resources well before the end of the fiscal year", reads the formal request letter to Congress, which was obtained by the AP.

It also includes $1.1 billion for border operations like additional personnel and detention beds. Instead, thousands are showing up every day (in what US officials have dubbed the "conveyor belt") and are turning themselves over to Border Patrol agents so they can claim asylum. The agencies also say that they can search and seize devices for the goal of compiling "risk assessments" or to advance pre-existing investigations. Trump eventually declared a national emergency declaration to circumvent Congress to get the funding elsewhere.

But some Democrats argued President Donald Trump needs to focus less on building a border wall and more on ensuring the safety and well-being of migrants arriving at the border.

Separately, CBS News confirmed Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security will launch a rapid DNA testing program at the border.

The number of families and children arriving alone at the border is now outpacing the number of single adults, putting new strains on the immigration system.

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, return to Mexico after being hit by tear gas by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials after attempting to illegally cross the border wall into the United States in Tijuana, Mexico November 25, 2018. The lawsuit claims these technology searches of certain individuals aren't for customs and immigration enforcement, but that the CBP and ICE are taking requests from other agencies to search electronic devices to gather information on tax, bankruptcy, environmental and consumer protection investigations.

The Trump administration will be asking Congress for extra money to help pay for the influx of migrants coming across the border this year, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Tuesday. "The migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis is rapidly overwhelming the ability of the Federal Government to respond", acting White House budget Director Russ Vought wrote in the request to lawmakers.

"The situation becomes more dire each day. Forget about Congress", said Homan, calling on ICE to seek out and deport family units who have lost their cases before a judge.

The letter from the administration to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi notes that the number of unaccompanied children whose care is charged to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) increased by nearly 50 percent over the past year.

Earlier on Wednesday, the White House said it would need an additional $US4.5 billion in humanitarian aid for the border.

  • Jon Douglas