WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Department of Homeland Security is requesting billions of dollars in emergency funding, saying the number of migrants and asylum-seekers at the southern border has reached a 10-year high.
The DHS and the White House want $4.5 billion in emergency funding for border security.
The acting secretary of Homeland Security said DHS doesn’t have enough money in this year’s budget.
“In March, CBP apprehended and encountered 103,000 migrants crossing without legal status,” said Kevin McAleenan. “The most in one month in over a decade.”
Republicans like North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven agree there is a crisis and he wants to know what the department needs “so that we can get control of our border.”
The emergency funding DHS wants is in addition to the billions of dollars already earmarked for border security this year.
Democratic lawmakers accuse the Trump administration of wasting taxpayer dollars by building a border wall that they claim won’t stop the migrants who are seeking asylum.
McAleenan told senators DHS wants billions more for the wall next year.
Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said she’s disappointed.
“Once again, the Department of Homeland Security’s budget includes the president’s call for $5 billion for a border wall,” Baldwin said. “A border wall that Congress has repeatedly rejected.”
Sen. John Tester of Montana said the border wall won’t just cost taxpayers — it will also cost farmers who own land that Tester says costs up to $75,000 per acre.
“I don’t see how we get it through Congress to do that. So they’re just going to be SOL,” Tester said.
House Republicans may try to attach the emergency border funding to a disaster aid bill which is up for a vote next week.