President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked Congress for $4.5 billion in emergency aid to address the surge of Central American immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The funding request is the first major move by the White House to respond to what it calls a “humanitarian crisis” at the Southern border and intensifies an ongoing funding battle over border security, just four months after the issue led to a paralyzing 35-day government shutdown.
“As we’ve been saying for months and months, the situation at the border becomes more and more dire each day,“ a senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday. “The bottom line here is that the migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis is rapidly overwhelming the federal government’s ability to respond.”
None of the $4.5 billion would be used to build a border wall, the official confirmed.
The Trump administration is seeking $3.3 billion in humanitarian assistance — one area that has attracted bipartisan support.
But Trump also wants $1.1 billion for border operations like detention beds. The administration’s request includes money for an additional 23,600 beds — a polarizing issue for House Democrats and a sticking point in the shutdown battle.