Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education for increasing funds for the Unaccompanied Alien Children program by more than $1 billion.
The subcommittee more than doubled funding for the program, which helps provide quality care and support for unaccompanied immigrant children, from $912 million in fiscal year 2014 to $1.94 billion in fiscal year 2015. The bill is scheduled to be debated by the full Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
The legislation provides dedicated funding for two key programs that support these children: $80 million for legal services for children in U.S. custody and after they are released to family members and $1 million for advocates to support unaccompanied children while they await judicial review of their immigration cases. The subcommittee set aside funding for child advocates at Senator Feinstein’s request.
The growing problem of unaccompanied children crossing the border was detailed in a recent Los Angeles Times article. Senator Feinstein, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement:
“I thank Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Moran for recognizing the need to ensure the safety and well-being of unaccompanied children who cross the border.
“The recent influx of tens of thousands of children entering the country without their parents has resulted in emergency situations in border states. Federal, state and local officials need increased resources to properly shelter, feed and clothe these children as they work to find solutions to these heartbreaking situations.
“Providing sufficient funding for child advocates and legal services is essential to ensure children have adequate representation and support as their immigration cases make their way through the judicial process.”