As the public battle about family separations at the U.S. southern border rages on, reports show the Trump administration is taking money from HIV/AIDS programs to fund further separations.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement is looking ahead at the possibility that 25,450 more beds for immigrant children could be needed by year’s end.
The office, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, was apparently surprised when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new “zero tolerance” policy that families would be separated if caught crossing the border without authorization.
Under the policy, parents are imprisoned and children have been placed in cages that Sen. Jeff Merkley, who visited a facility, described as resembling “dog kennels.”
Now, in preparation for a new surge of family separations, the HHS is not only asking for supplemental funds, but according to Slate is also planning to reallocate money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
The Ryan White CARE Act was introduced in 1990 by Sen. Ted Kennedy weeks after the death of its namesake Ohio teen, who had been infected with HIV via a blood transfusion to treat his hemophilia. The bill was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
According to the program’s website, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program “provides a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured.”
Slate’s reporting indicates the process of transferring those HIV/AIDS funds has already begun.
This is just one more example of the Trump/Pence administration's bias against the LGBTQ community which is massively impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Vice President MikePence famously pledged to siphon funding from the program in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy.
On his 2000 Congressional campaign website, Pence posted:
“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Additionally, HHS is moving $79 million from refugee resettlement programs. The loss of those funds will undercut medical assistance and social services for refugees in the United States.