US Pays Some Sponsors’ Travel to Pick Up Migrant Kids

US Pays Some Sponsors' Travel to Pick Up Migrant Kids US Pays Some Sponsors' Travel to Pick Up Migrant Kids (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jim Thomas | Thursday, 22 April 2021 05:41 PM

The U.S. government is paying costs of travel for some adult sponsors going to shelters to pick up unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum at the border, a Department of Health and Human Services agency spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Paying for the child’s travel is a "normal part of the unaccompanied children program's operations," the Administration for Children and Families’ communications office told Axios in a statement. The authorization was updated on March 22, providing that government funds can also be used for the transportation of sponsors.

The updated authorization came despite HHS’ policy which states that under "no circumstances will [the Office of Refugee Resettlement] pay for the sponsor’s airfare," reports Axios.

Pressure is bearing on the Biden administration to quickly release kids who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border alone and who remain in HHS custody while currently placed in troubled and overcrowded shelters, reports the New York Post.

Despite the efforts of HHS to speed up the process of vetting sponsors and releasing the migrant children, the total number of children and teens in the bureau's network of shelters continues to rise — recently surpassing 20,000, reported Axios.

Every day, about 275 migrants from Central America arrive at the U.S. southern border and about 20,000 are currently in federal custody, according to the New York Post.

The move is a financially sound decision, given that it costs $775 a day to house a child, Mark Greenberg, a former HHS official who oversaw the child migrant program under President BarackObama, told Axios.

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