Border funding bill includes language for reimbursement of local communities
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Washington, D.C. -- Following Rep. Cuellar’s letter last week to the Appropriations Committee requesting reimbursements for local communities, the Appropriations Committee introduced legislation to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border that provides the ability for local governments to apply for reimbursement.
“I thank Chairman Hal Rogers, Chairman John Carter, and the Committee for working with me to include this important provision in the border funding bill,” said Congressman Cuellar. “These communities have expended hard-earned taxpayer dollars in support of law enforcement and community efforts to address the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. Our local governments understand that our federal law enforcement is stretched thin at this time and they have stepped up to provide resources and assist where they can.”
As part of the language, state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies within local units of government may apply for reimbursement of costs incurred for personnel, overtime, travel, costs related to combating illegal immigration and drug smuggling, and costs related to providing humanitarian relief to unaccompanied children and family units who have entered the United States.
The full text of Rep. Cuellar’s letter to the Appropriations Committee is include below and attached. Also attached are letters from the City of McAllen, City of Laredo, and the Webb County Sheriff’s Office with descriptions of the costs they have incurred.
July 24, 2014
The Honorable Hal Rogers
House Appropriations Committee
H-305, The Capitol
Washington DC 20515
Dear Administrator Rogers:
As you are aware the unprecedented number of undocumented immigrants arriving in South Texas, have created a humanitarian crisis on the border. Local governments, law enforcement agencies, non-profits and community partners have been providing support for the humanitarian relief effort, contributing personnel, equipment, and services.
These generous communities have contributed food, medical, and transportation assistance as well as shelter and security. Unfortunately the continuous influx of undocumented immigrants has made this assistance unsustainable and caused an undue hardship to the local tax payer. The border communities in my district did not anticipate this expense and have contacted my office requesting federal financial assistance and reimbursement for the expenses incurred in response to this crisis.
As the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I urge you to consider every option at your disposal to provide assistance to these communities, including budgetary adjustments such as allocating unobligated funds to these communities and reprograming agency funds into programs in which these activities qualify as allowable uses.
Please let us know of any resources these communities can access. Enclosed are letters I have received detailing some of the expenses incurred by the border communities. I look forward to your response.
Henry Cuellar, Ph.D.
28th District of Texas
Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Vice Chairman of the House Steering and Policy Committee, Senior Whip, and member of the Blue Dog Coalition. Previously, he served as a Texas State Representative and Texas Secretary of State.