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DHS Head: Funds an 'Absolute Necessity' to Address Border Crisis

Image: Senate Holds Hearing On Obama Request For Funds For Child Immigrants
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 10: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell (L) and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifiy before the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill July 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Johnson and officials from the Obama Administration are asking Congress to approve and emergency supplemental request of $3.7 billion to help with the sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied children who are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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Obama administration officials pleaded their case to a key Senate panel Thursday for nearly $4 billion in aid to address the ongoing migrant crisis at the nation’s southern border, warning that nearly 100,000 unaccompanied minors could cross the border by the end of the summer.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called the funds an “absolute necessity to address this situation” during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee to consider the aid request.

Johnson said that as many as 90,000 unaccompanied children could cross the border by September. Without the additional funds for the surge of undocumented migrants entering the country, he said – at the rate of current spending -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will run out of funding by next month and that Customs and Border Protection would soon follow.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell also testified, calling the issue “an urgent humanitarian situation that calls for a robust response.”

Some lawmakers – particularly Republicans – say they're worried that the $3.7 billion aid package proposed by the White House would not address the root causes of the influx of the undocumented immigrants.

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