June 13, 2019

Feinstein Calls for Funding to Help Cities Provide Aid to Asylum Seekers

 Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on the Senate Appropriations Committee to include $30 million in supplemental appropriations to help local governments and organizations continue providing critical aid to migrant families.

            In October, ICE ended its “safe release” policy, which ensured asylum-seekers had a way to reach relatives prior to their release from custody. Since then, ICE has been dropping asylum seekers off in border communities without assistance.

            “Since the federal government is leaving migrant children and families in local communities, it is only fair that federal resources be provided to ease the financial burden on border communities so they can continue this critical work,” wrote Senator Feinstein. “Therefore, I respectfully ask that that you include $30 million in the border supplemental appropriations to help local governments and organizations continue providing critical aid to migrant children and families.”

            Full text of the letter follows:

June 12, 2019

The Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Vice Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairman Leahy,

I write to request that you include $30 million in the border supplemental appropriations bill to assist local governments and social service organizations that are providing a wide range of services for migrants who are being released into border communities by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

 In October, ICE ended its “Safe Release” policy, which ensured asylum-seeking families had a plan to reach relatives in the United States prior to their release from custody.  Since October, vulnerable families have instead been dropped off into border communities without direction or assistance, leaving local governments, community groups, and nonprofits to provide temporary shelter and care.

As described in the attached letter from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, over the last six months, these organizations and local municipalities have taken extraordinary measures to care for over 168,000 migrant children and families, many of whom must wait weeks or months for their formal asylum hearings. 

Since the federal government is leaving migrant children and families in local communities, it is only fair that federal resources be provided to ease the financial burden on border communities so they can continue this critical work. Therefore, I respectfully ask that that you include $30 million in the border supplemental appropriations to help local governments and organizations continue providing critical aid to migrant children and families.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

                                                Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Enclosure: May 21, 2019 Letter from U.S. Conference of Mayors

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