April 20, 2024

Gallego Statement on Opposition to H.R. 3602

WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) voted against H.R. 3602. Following the vote, he released this statement:

Statement from Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03)

“Once again, performative politicians put forth a bill that fails to address Arizona’s border crisis — which is why I could not support it. This bill purposefully leaves out the solutions Arizona vitally needs to secure our border — hiring judges, providing resources for border communities, and fixing our broken asylum system.

“We need a real bipartisan border deal that actually addresses the border crisis that is disproportionately impacting Arizonans — a deal like the ones extremists in Congress blocked just months ago. And we need to listen to local leaders in border states and give them what they need. Today’s bill did none of that.”

Background on Rep. Gallego’s Efforts to Support Arizona’s Border Communities:

Last week, Rep. Gallego announced $54,573,093 in funding from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Shelter and Services Program (SSP) to support Arizona’s border communities on the frontlines of the border crisis. Rep. Gallego helped secure $650 million in SSP funding as part of the government funding package passed last month. He immediately called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to swiftly disperse the funds and to prioritize Arizona border communities.

In March, Rep. Gallego, Attorney General Kris Mayes, and Sheriff David Hathaway held a press conference underscoring the need for federal action to address the crisis at Arizona’s border. That same day, Rep. Gallego sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to include more funding for the Shelter and Services Program, which provides critical support to Arizona border communities.

The press conference followed the failure to pass the bipartisan border deal in Congress after extremists in the House and Senate withdrew their support. The deal, supported by Rep. Gallego, included key priorities like funding for Arizona border communities, tools to help stop the fentanyl crisis, changes to how the U.S. handles asylum claims, and increased funding for border protection.

Prior to the end of Title 42 in May 2023 and after communicating with Arizona border leaders, Rep. Gallego sent four letters to Biden Administration officials and Congress requesting specific resources these communities need to reduce the burden on them and their residents.

In June, he sent an initial letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arguing that border states like Arizona need more funding to address border crossings and provide services. He called the FEMA funding model “misguided.”

After a lackluster response from FEMA, he sent a second letter to Secretary of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directly, expressing his disagreement with the funding model.

Rep. Gallego also sent a letter to FEMA urging the Agency to fix a new documentation requirement that strains border communities and non-profits in Arizona, putting their funding at risk.

Following these letters, as well as a one-on-one call with Sec. Mayorkas, Rep. Gallego announced in September that he had secured over $2 million in emergency funding from the DHS to support Arizona’s border communities as they address an increase in migrant crossings.

In November, Rep. Gallego joined Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10) in sending a bipartisan letter to House Appropriations Committee leadership requesting that any FY 2024 supplemental appropriations include funding for critical programs to aid first responders in communities impacted by immigration.

After close coordination with Arizona’s non-profits, border community leaders, and law enforcement officials, Rep. Gallego rolled out his plan to institute sweeping reforms to address the problems plaguing FEMA’s failed Shelter and Services Program (SSP)that has shortchanged Arizona’s border communities on the front line of the border crisis.

In December, Rep. Gallego called on the Biden Administration to issue an emergency declaration for the Southwest Border to provide Arizona’s border communities and nonprofits the resources they need to humanely process the increased number of arrivals at the border. He also inquired about using National Guard facilities in Douglas, Arizona as emergency shelter for migrants.

Also in December, Rep. Gallego traveled across Arizona meeting with border community leaders. He met with local officials, farmers, and business owners in Yuma to discuss the impact the closing of the Lukeville Port of Entry had on their businesses and Arizona’s economy, and he visited Nogales, Bisbee, and Tucson to meet with local leaders, nonprofit officials, and representatives from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to discuss the impact of increased migration on Arizona’s border communities.

To stop the flow of fentanyl across the border, Rep. Gallego introduced the Buck Stops Here Act which would authorize the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to designate financial institutions, transaction classes, or accounts as primary money laundering concerns in connection to illicit fentanyl trafficking. He also secured two fentanyl-related provisions in the annual defense bill mandating a report on the role of the Department of Defense (DoD) in supporting a national emergency declaration combating the fentanyl crisis and mandating a threat analysis of any potential threats the illicit fentanyl drug trade poses to the defense interests of the U.S.

Rep. Gallego sent a letter to the Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, imploring the Speaker to ensure that any supplemental funding package that comes before the House addresses the needs of Arizona’s border communities, and he sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas urging the Administration to crack down on foreign travel agencies that advertise travel packages that include transportation to our Southern border, often through human smuggling organizations.