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It’s almost been 100 days since President Joe Biden took office, but nearly 400 key positions in the federal government remain unfilled. This includes top jobs at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Advocacy groups and former officials warn this could make it hard for agencies to deal with the recent border influx. Jorge Loweree, policy director of the American Immigration Council, also warned that “changes in culture” at the immigration agencies “will not fundamentally be possible until permanent and very strong leadership is in place at all the relevant agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.” NBC News
In other federal immigration news…
Migrant Child Care Costing $62 Million a Week
Government data shows the Biden administration is spending about $62 million a week to care for unaccompanied migrant children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The daily cost per child is more than double what the department usually spends for its shelter program; it went from about $290 a day to approximately $775 per day. HHS said this excess cost is because it needs more facilities to properly socially distance children, and has had to rapidly expand staff in a short amount of time. According to HHS, there are about 8,876 children in the department’s licensed shelter program and nearly 8,124 children in temporary sites. CNN
U.S. Might Use Cash Payments to Stop Migration
The U.S. is considering a cash transfer program to help address economic burdens that cause some Central American migrants to travel across the border. Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border coordinator, said the program would aim for individuals in the Northern Triangle region of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. “We’re looking at all productive options to address both the economic reasons people may be migrating, as well as the protection and security reasons,” she said. No decision has been made on distributing vaccines to the Northern Triangle countries, but Jackson said the Biden administration would consider how the vaccines could assist countries’ economies. Reuters