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Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration postponed a $13.5 million grant to house and support victims of human trafficking in September, NBC News reports.

Where it stands: A Department of Justice spokesperson told NBC that "the agency asked for the funds back from HUD and ... DOJ will now run the program itself." Noncitizens were newly listed as recipients for the grant on Sept. 4, just 5 days before the grant solicitation was delayed.

  • The 36-month program was pitched in August as a partnership between the DOJ and HUD. The grant was approved 2 years ago by various federal agencies, NBC reports.
  • The grant was "intended to support housing and supportive services for victims of sex and labor trafficking, including immediate emergency shelter and short-term housing of up to 24 months," per NBC, citing the project's notice of funding availability.

The big picture: Several federal efforts to combat human trafficking in the U.S. have slowed under the Trump administration, according to government data and human trafficking advocates, Axios' Stef Kight and Juliet Bartz report.

Background: The Trump administration has pointed at human trafficking along the southern border as a reason to build a wall, arguing that "Congress has a moral responsibility" to fund a wall to prevent human trafficking and deter illegal immigration.

Go deeper: Efforts to combat human trafficking slow under Trump

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

1 hour ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.