May 04, 2023

Gallego Calls on the Biden Administration and Congress to ‘Act Fast’ and Support Arizona Border Communities Ahead of the End of Title 42

Phoenix, AZ – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) sent four letters to Biden administration officials and Congress after hearing directly from leaders of Arizona’s border communities. Based on conversations with border town mayors and county officials, the letters request specific resources these communities need to reduce the burden that lifting Title 42 will have on them and their residents.

“I’ve heard directly from leaders in our border communities and it’s abundantly clear that they, through no fault of their own, are simply unequipped to handle the surge of migrants that are expected when Title 42 ends,” said Rep. Gallego. “They need tangible resources like buses, beds, personnel, and funds to both process asylum claims in an orderly way and keep their communities safe. It is imperative the Biden administration work directly, in real-time, with these communities to support them in every way they need. That’s why I’m reaching out to federal officials to make sure they know exactly what Arizona needs. With Title 42 set to end on May 11, we need the Biden administration to act, and to act fast.”

Rep. Gallego’s one-on-one calls included the mayors of communities who are on the frontlines of processing asylum claims at the U.S. southern border. While the specific needs and requests of each border community varied, one similarity was clear: the administration has not done enough to meet their needs, and these local officials require additional resources, personnel, and funds to ensure our border stays secure and that the processing of asylum seekers is done in a humanitarian way.

Rep. Gallego’s letters are addressed to:

  1. President Biden;

  1. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas;

  1. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell; and

  1. House Appropriations Committee leaders Reps. Kay Granger and Rosa DeLauro.

In the letter to President Biden, Rep Gallego’s requests information on how troops deployed to the border will be utilized and asks the President for additional transparency on the deployment. On Wednesday, Rep. Gallego noted the Biden administration’s announcement of sending 1,500 troops to the border was needed to “alleviate some of the burdens our border communities on the frontlines are expected to face.”

However, in his conversations with border towns mayors and county officials, Rep. Gallego has heard repeated concerns about a lack of information around federal policy that directly impacts our Arizonans communities and local economies.

Rep. Gallego asks DHS Sec. Mayorkas to improve communications with local officials in towns along the southern border. Repeatedly, border town and county officials conveyed that that are receiving a lack of information from DHS. The concerns they explained to Rep. Gallego include:

  1. Confusion around new administration policy on migrant processing prioritization based on national origin, requests for asylum, and combinations thereof.

  2. Limited notification of what resources, personnel, and Department of Defense personnel will be sent to their area.

  3. An inability to share complaints, concerns, and critical observations with federal officials.

Regarding FEMA, Rep. Gallego asks the agency to cut red-tape, improve communication, and provide greater flexibility on shelter services, rent, transportation, and utility assistance. According to leaders in border communities, the agency’s reimbursement guidelines hinder their ability to plan long-term solutions, use federal resources, and provide support to migrants and the communities they represent.

Lastly, Rep. Gallego asks for advancing immigration-related supplemental appropriations funding in his letter to Appropriations Chair Kay Granger and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro. Border town and county leaders conveyed to Rep. Gallego their serious concerns about their capacity to proves migrants and provide humanitarian support. They need additional funds to process, house, feed, and transport migrants. In addition, federal agencies may require more funding and staffing to support these communities and keep the border secure.

With Title 42 lifting on May 11, Rep. Gallego urges the administration to answer the questions and meet the needs of Arizona’s border towns and counties. He will remain in contact with these local leaders and will stay on-top of the administration to get these border town mayors and county officials the information they require and deserve.