The Trump administration reportedly told migrant shelters this week to begin discontinuing services like legal aid, English lessons and recreational activities — including soccer — that are not directly related to children’s safety, reports The Washington Post.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it began instructing grantees this week to begin scaling back or discontinuing awards for activities “that are not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation.”
Federal officials argue that the administration’s refugee office is running out of funds to deal with “a dramatic spike” in unaccompanied minors at the southern border and have asked Congress for $2.9 billion in emergency funding to expand shelters and care.
“Additional resources are urgently required to meet the humanitarian needs created by this influx — to both sustain critical child welfare and release operations and increase capacity,” HHS said.
Lawyers for the migrant children say the proposed cuts would violate the terms of a legal settlement regarding the treatment of unaccompanied minors in federal custody.
“What’s next? Drinking water? Food?” Carlos Holguin, a lawyer who represents young detained immigrants, was quoted by the Post. “Where are they going to stop?”
“We’ll see them in court if they go through with it,” he added.