(NewsNation) — Between apprehension, processing and additional care once migrants are released, the current strategy at the southern border is hitting American taxpayers three times over.
While previous administrations leaned heavily on detention or the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Biden administration is releasing migrants into the country while their asylum cases are pending, and that comes at a high financial cost.
Sources told NewsNation that Border Patrol is spending about $100 million every month on soft-sided processing facilities which have popped up all across the southern border. NewsNation independently confirmed that one expansion to a facility in El Paso cost the government over $1.9 million.
Operational expenses are also high — sources say in Yuma alone, it costs nearly $500,000 a day to operate their two temporary facilities.
After they’re processed, the majority of migrants go to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) which FEMA supplements. That support comes from taxpayer dollars. Last fiscal year, the agency made more than $363 million available to respond to the migrant crisis. Of that, over $35 million went to faith-based charities and $11 million went to a Yuma world hunger task force.
The NGO then releases, or sends, these individuals to so-called sanctuary cities like New York and Chicago. FEMA sent over $100 million to New York City, $19 million went to the Illinois Department of Public Health and another $10 million went directly to the city of Chicago.
President Joe Biden is now asking Congress to give five major cities $1.4 billion to deal with the crisis. Mayors of the five cities say that’s not enough, arguing in a letter that local taxpayers are bearing the brunt of the ongoing federal crisis. The mayors are seeking at least $5 billion for now.
A retired Border Patrol chief doesn’t think more money will solve the underlying issues.
“When you’re asking for billions of dollars for sanctuary cities and states, those are all buckets to help bail out water but they won’t fix the hole in the boat,” said Chris Clem, Ret. Yuma Sector Border Patrol Chief.
Meanwhile, Congress is trying to avoid a government shutdown by Nov. 17. At this point, it isn’t clear if Biden’s $8 billion border funding request will win the necessary Republican votes without policy changes that would tighten up the asylum system.