FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2018
CONTACT: Kyle Murphy, 202-876-2820, firstname.lastname@example.org
AIDS UNITED STATEMENT ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO REALLOCATE RYAN WHITE FUNDING FOR CHILD SEPARATION TIED TO ZERO TOLERANCE BORDER POLICY
The following is a statement from AIDS United CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. on reports that the Trump administration is seeking to reallocate funding meant for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to cover the costs associated with resettling children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border:
Washington, DC – “AIDS United is troubled by Slate Magazine’s report that the Trump administration plans to divert funding from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to cover the cost of child detainment tied to its “zero tolerance” immigration policy. We oppose any diversion of Ryan White Program funds for purposes not related to caring for the 1.2 million people living with HIV in this country. We are especially opposed to diverting Ryan White funds to cover the ever-growing costs of a policy that is unnecessary, cruel, and a violation of basic human decency.
“As a payer of last resort, the Ryan White Program covers services for people that have no other means to pay for them. Any shortages in funding to the program would result in essential services not provided to potentially thousands of Americans. This could mean people not receiving life-saving medications or losing insurance coverage because funding was not available to cover their premiums. For an administration that just recently proclaimed its commitment to ending the HIV epidemic in this country, stripping funding from the largest HIV-specific federal program defies all logic.
“This is an entirely Trump-made crisis that this administration has the power to solve at any time, free of charge. By simply reverting to the policy in place during both the Bush and Obama administrations, no child would be separated from his or her family, and there would be no additional costs accrued by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Attempting to pay for this policy on the back of low-income people living with HIV is reprehensible. If reports of this policy are inaccurate, then we urge the administration to state so clearly and publicly. We also urge the administration reconsider its policy of ‘zero tolerance.’ Either way, we insist that not a single penny of funding from the Ryan White Program – or any other unrelated program at HHS – be used for this xenophobic agenda.”
July 24, 2018
After further inquiry, AIDS United has learned that the money transferred from the Ryan White Program to the Office of Refugee Resettlement amounts to $1.9 million in unspent funding from fiscal year 2015 and $17.3 million in unspent funding from fiscal year 2016 – a total of $19.2 million. The transfer was originally requested in the last weeks of the Obama administration to mitigate a rise in unaccompanied minors coming to the US from Mexico and Central America.
In contrast, the current transfer of funds has been used at least in part to cover the increasing costs of detaining migrant children separated from their parents under policy set by the Trump administration. While the use of this money for such purposes is deplorable, we do not believe the money used thus far has come from active FY18 Ryan White funds. People who use the Ryan White program for any purpose, including covering the cost of medication, should not worry about this impacting them directly.
AIDS United continues to insist that, in the future, any unspent Ryan White funding is redirected towards HIV programs and services. We strongly condemn the use of HIV funding – unspent or otherwise – to support the Administration’s practice of child separation which has resulted intrauma to immigrant children and families. At a time when more funding is needed to end the HIV epidemic, it is a shame that funding was diverted to a divisive, inhumane program that was entirely created due to the administration’s policies. AIDS United will continue to stay on top of this issue and will alert the public to any additional information should it become available.
AIDS United’s mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $104 million to local communities and have leveraged more than $117 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy. www.aidsunited.org.