President Donald Trump is facing a backlash after his administration announced plans to divert nearly $200 million from health programs to funding the detention of unaccompanied immigrant children caught crossing into the U.S. illegally.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified Congress in a letter Wednesday that it plans to transfer as much as $186 million from its programs to help cover the costs of housing the growing number of children being stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The transfer would affect several health programs, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which would lose $16.7 million, Medicare and Medicaid, which would see $9.8 million withdrawn from funding for program operations, as well as $87.3 million overall from the National Institutes of Health, according to The Hill.
The HHS also said it planned to divert up to $80 million from refugee programs, which are expected to see less use, with the Trump administration slashing the number of refugees admitted into the country each year.
In a statement shared online, Coalition for Health Funding Executive Director Emily Holubowich alleged that her organization had “long suspected” that “funding to care for children separated from their parents at the border [was] being drawn directly from money appropriated for public health and medical research.”