Heinrich, Cornyn, Luján Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Authorize Reimbursements For Border Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) have introduced the bipartisan Southern Border Communities Reimbursement Act of 2021, legislation to authorize funding through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) to reimburse localities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide future humanitarian care to migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In 2019, the New Mexico delegation and Senator Cornyn fought to secure $30 million in Emergency Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act for the EFSP to reimburse border communities that took on the responsibility of providing care for migrants.

The bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Heinrich, Cornyn, and Luján would authorize an additional $30 million for Fiscal Years 2021, 2022, and 2023 within the EFSP for reimbursement funding if future costs are incurred from providing humanitarian relief at the border. Of these funds, $25 million will be allocated to entities in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

“Local, state, and non-governmental organizations in New Mexico know all too well the burdens created by new and unbudgeted costs when federal agencies do not provide sufficient shelter and humanitarian aid for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Heinrich, who was recently appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Asylum seekers at our nation’s southern border need to be processed according to our laws and the federal government must be prepared, but we also need to support the incredible community-driven efforts to provide assistance. That is why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that authorizes reimbursement funds for border communities and non-profits that step up to the plate and deliver critical humanitarian aid.”

“Texas communities have opened their hearts to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants, but they shouldn’t have to open their wallets to fulfill the federal government’s duties,” said Cornyn. “With this bill, I hope to provide peace of mind and certainty to Texans that they can continue to be Good Samaritans and the federal government will have their back.”

“Local governments and nonprofit organizations along New Mexico’s southern border often find themselves providing food and shelter to migrant families. As these entities provide humanitarian care that families often cannot find elsewhere, the federal government needs to provide support to cover the costs associated with that care. Local governments and organizations continue to face budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it more important than ever to pass this legislation to support New Mexicans’ critical humanitarian efforts and to reimburse border communities for answering the call to provide this critical relief,” said Luján.

Read the full text of the bill by clicking here.