Kelly, Sinema say Arizona needs more federal funds to secure the southern border

Dec 20, 2023, 6:50 AM | Updated: 12:23 pm

SSP funds needed to help undocumented migrants...

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials process migrants in Lukeville. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s U.S. senators have asked leaders with the Biden administration for more federal funding to help border communities.

“We are facing a growing, unsustainable border crisis,” Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema said in a Dec. 15 letter addressed to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and two other officials.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and Customs and Border Patrol Acting Commissioner Troy Miller were the other recipients.

The letter urged Mayorkas, Criswell and Miller to allocate more funds from the Shelter and Services Program, which Congress passed earlier this year.

Why do senators think Biden administration is shortchanging Arizona?

The way FEMA distributes those SSP funds is a particularly sharp thorn in Kelly and Sinema’s sides, though.

The senators said FEMA gave New York City and Chicago upwards of $115 million in SSP funds. In contrast, FEMA gave Arizona $77 million in SSP funds.

“This has left Arizona’s local communities on the hook to manage the border crisis due to Washington’s inaction,” the letter said.

The Biden administration is shortchanging Arizona, according to the letter.

The senators cited President Joe Biden’s signings of two continuing resolutions in September and November. The acts were intended to provide continued funding to various programs that could help the border crisis, according to the letter.

However, neither Kelly nor Sinema has seen a penny of the cash Biden promised.

“To date, CBP has not allocated the additional SSP funding provided under either CR despite the dire need to manage the worsening and unmitigated border crisis,” Kelly and Sinema said in the letter.

They urged FEMA, CBP and DHS to take immediate actions to give Arizona’s border communities the cash support they need. It’s necessary to keep communities and migrants safe, they said.

How else is Arizona seeking federal assistance for border?

It wasn’t the first time Arizona’s senators demanded federal action last week. They sent a Dec. 11 letter to Biden echoing Gov. Katie Hobbs’ pleas for financial support and manpower.

Both letters came in the wake of U.S. officials shutting down the Lukeville Port of Entry earlier this month. Officials said they shut the port to focus on dealing with a large surge of illegal border crossings in the area.

Hobbs told reporters she was “extremely frustrated” with the Lukeville closure.

As a result, she signed an executive order Friday to send the Arizona National Guard to the southern part of the state to provide support for the border crisis.

The most recent letter from Kelly and Sinema urged the leaders of FEMA, CBP and DHS to allocate SSP funding no later than Dec. 22.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Phoenix officers shot and injured a man who shot at them first on Feb. 13, 2024. (Phoenix Police Sc...

Phoenix Police release video of suspect who held woman at gunpoint, shot at officers

The Phoenix Police Department released body camera video on Tuesday of a suspect who shot at officers responding to a call of a man holding a woman at gunpoint.

3 minutes ago

Traffic was restricted on 7th Avenue in Phoenix on Feb. 27, 2024, due to a fatal crash. (Pexels Pho...

Traffic restricted after fatal crash on 7th Avenue in Phoenix

Traffic was restricted on 7th Avenue due to a fatal three-vehicle crash in Phoenix on Tuesday, authorities said.

46 minutes ago

Promotional image of rapper 21 Savage...

Kevin Stone

Rapper 21 Savage coming to Phoenix this spring on his ‘American Dream Tour’

Grammy Award-winning rap star 21 Savage is bringing his distinctive flow to Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre in Phoenix this spring.

2 hours ago

Mugshot of Raad Almansoori, who was indicted by an Arizona grand jury on eight felony charges...

Kevin Stone

Violent crime suspect wanted for NYC murder indicted on 8 felony charges in Arizona

Violent crime suspect Raad Noah Almansoori was officially charged with eight felony offenses in Maricopa County, officials announced Tuesday.

3 hours ago

Group picture of ABOR members....

SuElen Rivera

Amidst UArizona’s financial challenges, Hobbs chastises university public governing board

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs on Monday chastised the state's public university governing board for attacking UArizona's faculty instead of addressing its failures and a $177 million deficit.

4 hours ago

A gloved hand holds a Planatome surgical blade...

Kevin Stone

Planatome, a Phoenix-based surgical blade maker, plans to double size of workforce

Planatome, a Phoenix-based medical device company that makes advanced surgical blades, announced plans to double its workforce.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Kelly, Sinema say Arizona needs more federal funds to secure the southern border