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Padilla Leads Call for Additional Emergency Food and Shelter Program Assistance for NGOs, States, and Localities Serving Migrant Families

Government and Politics

December 6, 2022


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) co-led a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to include $500 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program’s (EFSP) humanitarian assistance program in appropriations legislation for FY 2023.

This is a FEMA-funded program that supports local nonprofit, governmental social service organizations, and states/localities in providing shelter, food, transportation, and supportive services to migrants arriving at the border. Additional EFSP funds will help these assisting NGOs and localities provide support services for migrants arriving in their cities, including those along the southwest border and in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

“Communities and organizations are on the front-lines of assisting migrants coming to our border, and resources are being stretched thin as they take on the role of performing a federal government function,” wrote the lawmakers. “This funding is vitally important as more cities in the United States receive refugees and asylum seekers.”

“Given that the federal government has asked states, localities, and non-profits to perform an essential governmental function, Congress must reaffirm its commitment to these states, localities, and non-profits by providing significant additional funding for EFSP,” continued the lawmakers. “These funds are needed to ensure that shelters do not face financial difficulties or are not forced to stop their operations, which would simply shift even more of the burden to our local communities.”

Senator Padilla is a strong advocate and leader on immigration reform. Earlier this year, Padilla visited the San Diego border region and joined local NGOs and advocacy organizations to discuss their critical work to protect and welcome asylum seekers and how the federal government can support their efforts. He is an original cosponsor of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, legislation to overhaul the American immigration system, restore fairness and humanity to the system, strengthen families, boost our economy, and open a pathway to citizenship for millions.

Full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Chairman Leahy, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chairman Murphy, and Ranking Member Capito:

As you develop final FY 2023 Appropriations legislation, we urge you to provide $500 million for the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) for additional humanitarian assistance funding, which supports state, local, and non-profit service providers who are assisting the federal government with providing critical services for asylum seekers.

In light of federal capacity constraints, the federal government relies on EFSP to reimburse local nonprofit and governmental social service organizations, as well as states and localities, for providing shelter, food, transportation, and support services to asylum seekers arriving at our southern border. Communities and organizations are on the front-lines of assisting migrants coming to our border, and resources are being stretched thin as they take on the role of performing a federal government function. This funding is vitally important as more cities in the United States receive refugees and asylum seekers.

Given that the federal government has asked states, localities, and non-profits to perform an essential governmental function, Congress must reaffirm its commitment to these states, localities, and non-profits by providing significant additional funding for EFSP. These funds are needed to ensure that shelters do not face financial difficulties or are not forced to stop their operations, which would simply shift even more of the burden to our local communities.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to engaging with you to reaffirm this commitment.

Sincerely,