The Trump Administration Is Using HIV Funds to Detain Migrant Children

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When Trump rips apart migrant families at the souther U.S. border, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)  is tasked with housing immigrant children somewhere whether in tents, cages or another shelter. That costs a lot of money, more than is allotted in the ORR’s annual budget money. So to cover the costs the ORR has started taking money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, a program meant to provide healthcare to poor and uninsured people living with HIV.

An ORR document obtained by Slate shows that the ORR estimates that it will need 25,400 beds for housing migrant children by the end of 2018. If this keeps up, the ORR will incur at most $1.9 billion in child detainment costs by the start of 2019.

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Mark Jospeh Stern explains:

To help cover these potential costs, the documents say, HHS will seek supplemental appropriations from Congress. The documents also indicate that HHS plans to pay for child separation by reallocating money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which, according to its website, “provides a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured.” Per the documents, the process of transferring those HIV/AIDS funds has already begun.

Ryan White 02
Ryan White, the boy living with HIV for which the Ryan White program is named

Stern also reports that $79 million will be taken “from programs for refugee resettlement, a move that could imperil social services, medical assistance, and English language instructions for refugees in the U.S., as well as programs for torture survivors.”

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Stern adds that the requested budget shows that the Trump administration still expects there to be an surge in the need for detainment of immigrant children even though Trump signed an executive order stating that he no longer wished for migrant children crossing the border to be separated from their parents.

What do you think about Trump taking money from an HIV program to fund his detainment of immigrant children crossing the border?