The federal program for Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC)—which provides long-term foster care, apparel, and interpreter services for thousands of young illegal immigrants, the majority of which are placed in the United States—has already cost $263 million this year.
The recent surge in underage illegal immigrants crossing the southern border has prompted President Barack Obama to ask for $3.7 billion in additional funding, $1.8 billion of which would go to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which administers the UAC program.
The program had a budget of $376.083 million last year, and is on pace to spend nearly $1 billion in 2014. HHS has requested a contingency fund for 2015, due to the “rapidly expanding Unaccompanied Alien Children program.”
The majority of funding goes to nonprofit organizations and charities that provide living arrangements, education, health care, vocational training, mental health services, and other services.
Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesperson for HHS’s Administration of Children and Families, said approximately 88 percent of minors within the program are placed with family members or a verified sponsor in the U.S.