House passes reimbursement funds, law enforcement in Border Bill
Washington, D.C. -- Tonight, the House of Representatives passed border supplemental funding that gives state and local governments and law enforcement affected by the current border crisis the opportunity to apply for reimbursements. Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) worked to include this provision in the bill and last week sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee and the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting reimbursements for local communities. The bill passed the House by a margin of 223-189.
“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,” said Congressman Cuellar. “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. This funding will be very beneficial for the communities I represent along the Texas-Mexico border, which I why I fought to include this provision in the final version of the legislation.”
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 included below.
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