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Murkowski Speaks on Immigration Crisis

As the issue with the US-Mexico border continues, many officials are concerned about the unaccompanied minors that are entering the US illegally.  Even Alaskan senators are voicing opinions on the issue. 

US Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke Monday to a number of Cabinet officials about the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children crossing the US border from Central America.  Murkowski says the numbers of youth coming into the US has grown exponentially from 24,000 in 2012 to 57,000 in 2014. 

“This is a crisis. This is a humanitarian crisis and I think it pulls at the heart strings of all of us as we recognize that these statistics are not numbers but these are lives and these are children’s lives. But I find it very difficult and troubling to think that we are just now trying to get our hands around this.”

Murkowski spoke to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.  She said that she didn’t understand why the meeting was only happening recently.

“Why it is now part of an emergency supplemental request and to hear the testimony from both secretaries about the very immediate need to act before August or the consequences of how to care for these children while they are in this country are quiet dire.”

Secretary Burwell says the reason she was appealing to the government for more aid was the lack of appropriate funding.  She says, although she understands there needs to be a lot of policy made, but her department needs to be supported to help curb the illegal crossing of underage Central Americans.

“And part of what we have asked for in the supplemental is the ability to have transfer authority. If the needs are not there and we are trying to plan ahead so we don’t have the back up at the border, if the needs aren’t there HHS we are very willing and happy to transfer any funds that are not needed to any departments. We think that’s an important part of trying to balance the planning ahead with what you are rightfully pointing to, we need these numbers to come down.”

There are currently 11 million people living illegal in the US from all over the world.  However, there has been little progress in law making because of bipartisan standoffs.  Burwell says the department does not want to plan for the worst-- it wants to prevent the worst from happening.