Democrats Push for 'Obama-era' Aid to Illegal Immigrants Instead Of Detention
Family Case Management Program was ended by President Donald Trump in 2017
House Democrats are pushing to revive a program that would give aid to illegal immigrant families like housing, transportation, healthcare, and legal assistance to help them claim asylum in the U.S.
The Obama-era program called the Family Case Management Program was ended by President Donald Trump in 2017, citing unnecessary costs and the low rate of enrolled families returning to their country of origin.
But House Democrats are eager to relaunch the program as part of an effort to reduce the detention of illegal immigrants and release them in in the United States.
The Democrats are expecting to negotiate as part of the negotiations regarding border security.
House Democrats are requesting $30.5 million to fund the family case management budget within the Department of Homeland Security.
They are also pushing to end family detentions this year.
Democrats are hoping they can secure the funding in the continuing talks between 17 House and Senate lawmakers, who are trying to reach an order security agreement by Feb. 15.
Republicans are pushing for money to boost border security and specifically the wall requested by President Trump.
"There's not going to be any wall money in the legislation," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., a leading appropriator and a member of the negotiating team, described the Democratic proposal of granting aid to illegal immigrants rather than stopping them enter the US.
“The only crisis at the border has been a humanitarian one due to DHS’ inability to care for the migrants, families, and unaccompanied children properly,” Roybal-Allard said.
“My proposal provides a larger investment in alternatives to detention and family case management.”
The Democratic plan calls for 100,000 illegal immigrants to have access to Alternative To Detention programs, up from 82,000 who are allowed to use those programs currently.
Trump: 'Good Chance' National Emergency Will be Declared to Build Wall https://t.co/oVIjamhuDe— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) February 1, 2019
ATD programs have been praised by pro-immigration advocates as 'far more cost-effective and humanitarian' than detaining immigrants.
The House Democratic proposal also seeks an additional $40 million for ATD program case managers, which would increase Trump’s $184 million overall requests to fund the ATD program in fiscal 2019.
According to the Washington Examiner: Family case management operates within the ATD program but provides more services to illegal immigrants, such as legal help, and is much more expensive, according to the pro-immigration Cato Institute.
Cato’s senior immigration policy analyst, Alex Nowrasteh, reported the price tag for some ATD programs is as low as $24 per day per person. The Family Case Management program cost about $18,000 per illegal immigrant.
In total, the Family Case Management Program Trump discontinued in 2017 cost $17.5 million and served 954 illegal immigrants.
“Its cost and small scale make this is an unlikely model for widespread use nationwide, but it could be useful in special circumstances,” Nowrasteh wrote.
Nowrasteh and those who proceed to advocate for the program point to the 100 percent rate of court appearances among families in the program.
But the Trump administration did not view the program as a gain.
“The rates of compliance for FCMP were consistent with other monitoring options ICE exercises under Alternatives to Detention, which proved to be a much better use of limited resources,” an ICE spokesman told the Washington Examiner.
According to ICE, more illegal immigrants were sent back to their home countries “at a much higher rate” in other Alternative To Detention programs than the Family Case Management Program.
ICE said more than 2,200 people supervised under ATD programs were eventually sent home, compared with 15 people enrolled in the FCMP that Democrats seek funding for this year.
“We don’t have any comment on the pending legislation,” the spokesman said.