Kelly, Sinema Call for Desperately Needed Border Funds to Arizona

Local governments and nonprofits stuck managing border crisis are reaching a breaking point

Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to allocate at least $752 million in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Shelter and Services Program (SSP) funds in the annual Homeland Security funding bill.   

Without additional funding, organizations managing the fallout of the border crisis in Arizona will soon be forced to cease operations, increasing the likelihood that migrants will be released without shelter or support into the streets of local Arizona communities. The letter follows partisans in Washington rejecting a bipartisan national and border security bill, negotiated by Sinema and supported by Kelly, that would have allocated $1.4 billion in SSP funding to border communities, among other funding and policy changes to secure the border.   

“Border security and management is a federal government obligation, but Washington has been derelict in this duty for decades, putting the onus on border states and localities to shoulder the burden of the border crisis. Without this funding, border communities like those in Arizona will continue to be forced to manage a crisis they did not create, and to make impossible choices about whether to provide critical services to residents or manage the fallout of the border crisis,” wrote the Senators.   

The senators continued, “With Arizona’s FY 2023 funding almost fully exhausted, some grantees are winding down operations, creating a risk that migrants will be released into the streets of local Arizona communities. In light of these circumstances, program grantees are struggling to continue providing critical support to keep migrants and communities safe. An infusion of federal funds is needed to ensure that shelters do not face financial difficulties and are not forced to cease their operations, which would shift even more of the burden to our border communities.”  


SSP funds are used to reimburse local governments and nonprofits who provide shelter, food, transportation, and support services to asylum seekers arriving at Arizona’s southern border. In December, Kelly and Sinema urged the Department of Homeland Security to distribute additional SSP funding to border communities in Arizona and criticized the failure to prioritize border states for SSP funds. Later, Kelly and Sinema secured approval from the administration to allow Pima County to use its FY 2022 Emergency Food and Shelter Program – Humanitarian (EFSP-H) funds.   

Click here to read the full letter.