WASHINGTON, D.C. - With funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set to expire on February 27, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) continues to urge Congressional leaders to pass a clean funding bill to ensure that our nation's homeland security is not shut down.
"Shutting down the Department of Homeland Security has real consequences. It threatens our security and public safety, and jeopardizes critical funding for state, local, and tribal government activities in New Mexico," said Sen. Heinrich. "Republicans who want to use this funding bill as a tool to deport DREAMers are prioritizing politics over security. I've met many DREAMers in our state, they are bright, inspiring kids, and most of them don't know how to be anything but an American. I urge my Republican colleagues to stop undermining efforts to keep our nation safe, and work with Democrats to pass a clean DHS funding bill."
The House-passed DHS appropriations bill includes a number of anti-immigrant provisions, including deporting DREAMers, which Republicans know cannot pass the U.S. Senate and would be vetoed by the president.
Homeland security funding supports DHS and its related agencies, including the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others.
DHS also funds vital homeland security and public safety grants to state, local and tribal governments, law enforcement, emergency response officials and fire departments. Since 2002, New Mexico has received more than $235 million in DHS grant funds. That number includes State Homeland Security Grants, Fire Grants, and Emergency Management Performance Grants. Just last year in FY2014, New Mexico received $3.9 million in Emergency Management Performance Grants and $3.7 million in State Homeland Security Grant funds.
Senator Heinrich joined 44 senators last week in sending a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging him to pass a DHS funding bill without extraneous policy riders attached, including a provision to reverse the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented students known as DREAMers.