Kelly, Sinema: Shelter & Services Program is Not Meeting Arizona Border Communities’ Needs

In a joint letter to the administration, the Arizona senators outlined issue areas that must be addressed to avoid a humanitarian and security crisis

Today, Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure the Shelter and Services Program (SSP) sufficiently funds Arizona communities. The Senators’ letter outlines particular concerns that must be addressed to ensure Arizona’s border management network is able to continue keeping Arizona communities and migrants safe and secure.  

In the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bill, Kelly and Sinema secured $800 million to create the new CBP SSP to help cover the costs incurred by local government agencies and non-governmental organizations to manage migrant encounters at the border.  

“For years, across multiple administrations, Arizona communities have been paying the price for Washington’s failures on the border and have been using their own limited resources to help manage migration influxes… At a time when Arizona is experiencing an influx in migration, especially in remote areas of Arizona’s border during extreme heat weather, we need your agencies to immediately correct mistakes made with SSP and ensure Arizona receives the support and funding needed to manage this border crisis,” the senators wrote.   

Instead of prioritizing Southwest border communities with the $800 million Kelly and Sinema secured for a new CBP SSP, which was specifically authorized by Congress to assist border communities that are directly affected by the border crisis, the administration awarded East Coast cities, such as New York City, over $100 million. In their letter, the Senators direct the Administration to provide an in-depth briefing on the formula used to calculate the allocations for the first round of SSP funding, where Arizona only received $23.9 million.   

Sinema and Kelly’s letter outlines seven specific issue areas that must be addressed to avoid a humanitarian and security crisis. If the Administration is unable to address these issues, the letter demands the funds be administered through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program rather than SSP.   

Click here to read the senators’ letter.