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Administration projecting higher cost for migrants’ care

By ANDREW TAYLORMay 18, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has told lawmakers that it probably will cost more to care for migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico than the $2.9 billion in emergency money requested just two weeks ago.

In a White House letter released Saturday, acting budget chief Russell Vought said “the situation has continued to deteriorate and is exceeding previous high end estimates.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a separate letter that needs for the unaccompanied children account “could grow further and be closer to the worst-case scenario HHS had proposed be the basis for the supplemental request, which was $1.4 billion higher.”

The notice comes as lawmakers are trying to put the final touches on legislation, at $19 billion and growing, for hurricane and flooding relief and other disaster needs. Democrats also have offered money to care for the influx of immigrants from Central America, though they say they will deny President Donald Trump’s request for additional immigration agents.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants to get the long-overdue measure completed by the end of next week. Negotiations are going better of late but it’s not clear when a deal may be reached. Talks are focusing on conditions that Democrats want to place on the border assistance.

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