The Office of Refugee Resettlement motivated the budget limits, which were forced by the large influx of migrants in recent months. The Office instructed shelters to scale back on activities “that are not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety.” In fact, the administration has requested nearly $3 billion to shore up the program in a supplemental budget request, but Congress has yet to approve the money. Advocates for migrant children say the decision to cut services is unwise and possibly illegal. Under actual laws, children apprehended illegally entering the country must remain under the government’s care in shelters until they are reunited with their parents or a sponsor.
Recreational activity at a shelter
Actually, an average day for children housed in a regular security shelter is comparable to a full day of school that includes English, math, science and reading classes. The children get periods of outdoor activity and often play basketball and soccer. Approximately 13,200 minors are currently being held in federally contracted shelters. HHS operates a network of approximately 168 facilities and programs in 23 states to house those children. At least one operator said he would resist canceling educational and recreational activities. “We will have to use reserve funds until the government figures out what they are going to do,” said Kevin Dinnin, president of BCFS, the second-largest shelter network, which houses about 1,000 children in facilities in Texas.