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Trump requests billions to address ‘humanitarian crisis’ at border

President Donald Trump speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, looks on during a meeting with House and Senate leadership on June 6, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump has asked Congress for $4.5 billion in emergency funds to address what it has described as a “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border, setting up another showdown with lawmakers over immigration.

The money would be used to handle an influx of migrants, not Trump’s proposed border wall, according to administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the proposal. The request is likely to run into opposition from Democrats concerned with the administration’s overall approach to immigration.

The money, if approved, would represent a major increase in funding for the border. Trump had sought $5.7 billion for the border wall during the fight that led to the partial government shutdown this year, and wound up receiving $1.375 billion for border fencing.

Administration officials said the funding would be used to build facilities to house immigrants, medical treatment, food, diapers and similar needs. The Department of Homeland Security has been repeatedly criticized for conditions at the border.

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Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 92,000 immigrants trying to cross the border illegally in March, a 12-year high, officials said last month. The administration is also dealing with a surge of migrant families fleeing violence in Central America and attempting to claim asylum. The White House proposed sweeping new rules this week that would make the asylum process more difficult and more expensive.

Trump has been carrying out a major shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security, including by removing former secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last month.

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© 2019 USA Today

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.