Millions of dollars intended for HIV/AIDS and cancer programs have been shifted by the Department of Health and Human Services to cover the cost of housing the record number of migrant children currently in federal custody, according to The Daily Beast.
In a letter to Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) obtained by Yahoo News, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said he would reallocate a maximum of $266 million in the current fiscal year to the Unaccompanied Alien Children program within the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Close to $80 million will be reallocated within the ORR programs, but HHS will also be taking $16.7 million from Head Start, $5.7 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, and $13.3 million from the National Cancer Institute.
Money will also be diverted from “programs dedicated to mental and maternal health, women’s shelters and substance abuse.”
According to Azar, the department is “preparing for the trend of high capacity to continue,” due in large part to a slowdown in the agency’s ability to release children safely to sponsors.
Yahoo News reports 13,312 children are now in federal custody, with ORR shelters at 92 percent capacity. There are a record 12,800 migrant children in government custody, and a tent camp for migrant children will triple in size to house the growing number.