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Arizona House Democrats to DHS: We Need a Federal Crisis Coordinator at the Border

May 6, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Reps. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), and Greg Stanton (AZ-09) wrote to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan urging him to appoint a federal crisis coordinator to handle the humanitarian crisis at the Southern border.

“[T]his humanitarian crisis requires a humanitarian response,” the Arizona lawmakers wrote. “To that end, we believe that you should immediately increase communication and coordination among federal, state, local, and tribal governments as well as non-governmental stakeholders to promote the well-being and safety of migrant families, process asylum claims quicker, efficiently use federal and non-federal resources, and ensure that DHS can meet its national security mission.”

“This is a complex, multi-jurisdictional problem that requires a centralized command and coordination structure,” they wrote.

The group also requested DHS appoint local and regional coordinators to serve as primary points of contact for community groups and localities who are assisting with provision of food, housing, and transportation to asylum seekers.

The letter acknowledges DHS’s April announcement that Manuel “Manny” Padilla would lead an Interagency Border Emergency Cell to coordinate interagency support, but notes that no update has been provided on whether and how this cell will operate since DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned.

The full letter can be found here.