You might hope that funding to help provide for victims of human trafficking would be a point on which the diverse “sides” of the American political scene could come together. It’s not. This week, it’s emerged that the Trump administration has abruptly indefinitely delayed distributing already federally approved grant money to help trafficking victims, a change that came shortly after the government publicly listed that the money would be available to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals alike. There’s no immediately publicly available detailed explanation of what happened or the next steps — but we all know how antagonistic the president and his cronies are towards foreigners.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs’s ranking Democrat Sherrod Brown (Ohio) wrote in a letter to the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Justice (DOJ):
‘Survivors of trafficking must have access to safe and affordable housing. A decision to postpone these housing and services grants into oblivion will be a decision to waste anti-trafficking resources already on the table.’
Freedom Network USA’s Executive Director Jean Bruggeman adds that “tons of work has already gone into this program across the country” via the process of preparing grant proposals and more, and so, abruptly having to move on would be what she called “an incredibly offensive waste of resources for programs attempting to meet the daily needs of survivors.”
The money in question had been set to be administered through a joint project of HUD and DOJ. Now, according to a DOJ spokesperson, their department has asked for the money back from HUD and will now be delivering the grants in question themselves at an unspecified later date. That’s the extent of the immediate public explanation that’s available for this money that people are depending on to keep their very lives going.
Rep. Joyce Beatty, (D-Ohio) — who’s worked on this issue before, suggested a step forward, sharing:
‘It is especially troubling to me that the Trump administration and HUD Secretary Carson have apparently reneged on providing funds for housing assistance to trafficking victims for political purposes. That is why it is vitally important for Congress to find out the true reasons for the ‘postponed’ grant and when it will be made available.’
The Trump administration has moved in the past to completely cancel some funds to fight human trafficking around the world. One of their original budget requests for 2020 completely cancelled a whole crop of grants totaling more than $50 million that were meant for that purpose.
The developments fit in well with the Trump administration’s overall behavior. To suggest that Trump himself has repeatedly dehumanized immigrants would be an understatement.
He’s gone to such ludicrous extremes that a new report in The New York Times said that at one point behind the scenes, he was talking about using a moat alongside the wall he’s been seeking to put up blocking off Mexico. Yes — a moat. No word yet on whether he’ll personally be standing out there in a suit of armor that says “Fool” across the forehead.
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