WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 26, 2019) – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich secured $30 million in reimbursement funds for localities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in New Mexico and elsewhere that are providing much-needed humanitarian relief to asylum seekers. The measure was included in a $4.6 billion border supplemental funding agreement that passed the Senate today. The agreement includes emergency funding to address the humanitarian crisis at the border, with significant funding for legal assistance, food, water, and medical services, as well as stronger protections for unaccompanied children. The agreement requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prioritize community-based care, foster care, and small group homes over large institutional facilities.
“New Mexicans have stepped up to protect vulnerable children and families—treating them with the care, respect and decency that is emblematic of our state," said Udall. "I have seen firsthand how these New Mexico communities are on the front lines, and they need assistance. I am proud to have worked alongside the New Mexico delegation to secure this urgently needed funding in the final Senate agreement, and will continue working to get this over the finish line. These funds will provide badly needed support to our communities and local organizations who have been tireless in their efforts to help those who most need it during this humanitarian crisis.”
“Like the many constituents I’ve heard from in recent days, I was sickened by the horrific conditions reported at the U.S. Border Patrol facility in West Texas. The permanent trauma President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies are inflicting on innocent children, many of whom are refugees fleeing violence and seeking asylum, is inhumane and does not represent who we are as a nation. However, the kindness and compassion of communities like Las Cruces, Deming, and Albuquerque to address this humanitarian crisis on the border is truly inspiring,” said Heinrich. “Because federal agencies have not provided for sufficient shelter and humanitarian needs for these asylum seekers, local, state, and non-governmental organizations in New Mexico are facing new and unbudgeted costs. That is why I am proud to secure tens of millions of dollars in reimbursement funds for the border communities and non-profits who have stepped up to help. I will do everything in my power to hold the White House accountable for adhering to our laws, to American values, and for executing a clear plan to right this horrific wrong.”
The $30 million in reimbursement funds for localities and NGOs is provided through a Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) program called the Emergency Food and Shelter Program under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. These funds will provide assistance to jurisdictions and local recipient organizations serving communities that have experienced a significant influx of migrants. The funds may be used to reimburse jurisdictions and organizations for costs incurred in providing services dating back to January 1, 2019.