WASHINGTON: The Trump administration on Wednesday asked Congress for $4.5 billion in immediate emergency funding to help address a surge in migration at the U.S. southern border, saying the situation has overwhelmed government resources.
The request includes $3.3 billion for shelter, food and other requirements for migrants in custody, $1.1 billion for personnel, and $178 million for information technology and other needs, according to a copy of the request seen by Reuters and first reported by the Washington Post.
Record numbers of mainly Central American families have crossed the U.S. border with Mexico to seek asylum, straining capacity at migrant shelters in border cities like El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Democrats have blamed the Trump administration for exacerbating the situation with its hard-line immigration policies, while President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of failing to staunch the migrant flow, in part by not funding his long-sought border wall.
Trump has called on the military to support the efforts of Border Patrol officials.
Earlier this month, he said he would have to mobilize more of the military after listening to stories about migrants crossing the border from people attending a Republican fundraiser.
The Pentagon said last week it expected to send about 300 additional troops to the border with Mexico, including roughly 100 cooks who would hand out meals, in a break with its past policy to avoid troops coming into contact with migrants.