Kelly, Sinema Urge Administration to Swiftly Allocate Approved $650 Million Border Funds to Support Pima County, Arizona Communities

Senators Kelly and Sinema secured $650 million for border communities in the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill passed over the weekend

This week, Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell, and Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller urging them to swiftly allocate funding awards from the $650 million for the Shelter and Services Program (SSP) included in the recently passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 government funding package.  

Local governments and nonprofits managing the border crisis in Arizona had warned that they would run out of funds by March 31, affecting their capacity to keep legally processed asylum seekers off the streets. Yesterday, Pima County Administrator Jan Lesher said that, based on the new SSP funding secured by Kelly and Sinema and discussions with the administration, the county expects to receive additional funds in the coming weeks. 

“These border localities and NGO partners are on the frontlines of CBP’s decompression efforts, providing shelter space, transportation to shelters and transit hubs, and other critical services to ensure the health and safety of communities and asylum seekers. The SSP has become a lifeline to border communities facing the border crisis,” the Senators said.  

They continued, “Between June and September 2023, FEMA announced three separate funding award allocations for the SSP. In that process, Arizona was severely shortchanged relative to the burden Arizona has faced.”  

“The Department must now act quickly to allocate SSP funding to Arizona recipients, including Pima County, to avoid the disastrous outcome of a funding shortfall, which could lead to the release of legally processed asylum seekers onto the streets of Arizona border communities without support. In allocating the FY 2024 SSP funding, the Department must not once again fail Arizona communities,” the Senators wrote. 


Kelly and Sinema have long urged DHS, FEMA, and CBP for the allocation of additional border funds to Arizona, most recently in December after the Lukeville Port of Entry closure worsened the crisis. Before Congress approved $650 million for the SSP program over the weekend as part of the government funding package, Kelly and Sinema called on House and Senate Appropriations Committees leaders to prioritize border communities in the DHS bill.  

Click here to read the letter.