Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson shocked senators of both parties when he revealed that it costs $250 to $1,000 per day to house each of the immigrant children who have recently arrived at the border.
When Johnson reported that figure, “there was an audible gasp, a bipartisan gasp,” Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) told National Review Online.
Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray (D., Wash.) wouldn’t comment on the overall cost of housing so far. “It’s in the president’ request,” she said. President Obama asked Congress to provide $1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services “to provide the appropriate care for unaccompanied children, consistent with Federal law, while maintaining services for refugees.”
Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) was one of members of the ’Gang of Eight’ who wrote the comprehensive immigration bill that passed out of the Senate last June, but he identified the housing costs as a reason to remove the children from the United States quickly.
“The moral of the story is, turn them around quickly,” McCain told NRO. “Send the message by sending planeloads full of them back to the country they came from, and the parents or whoever who paid the coyotes thousands of dollars to bring them to the United States will think it’s not such a good idea.”
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.) wasn’t at the Johnson briefing, but he wasn’t surprised by the figure. “Housing people — it’s just like prisoners,” Rockefeller said. ”Prisoners can be $50,000 a year or more.”