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September 15th, 2023
Rep. Grijalva Urges Biden Admin, DHS to Address Lack of Coordination and Increase Resources for Southern AZ Communities

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) sent a letter to the Biden administration regarding recent community releases of asylum seekers into localities, mostly rural, across Southern Arizona. Many of these communities lack the infrastructure and capacity to manage the latest influx of migrants.

The letter highlights this critical issue:

“Some of these locations lack the infrastructure, such as housing, transportation, medical care etc., and capacity to provide migrants with the support they need. Subjecting migrants, including families, to this expedited process by way of street releases in parts of rural Arizona without the necessary resources, puts intense strain on our communities and is cruel. No migrant family or individual should be forced with the task of navigating a new country without help, many of which are struggling with language barriers. It is inhumane and against our values.”

In the letter, Rep. Grijalva also calls on the Biden administration’s to improve federal coordination efforts with local communities and increase resources as quickly as possible:

“The federal government’s coordination efforts with local communities have fallen short and must be improved. The DHS preparedness plan calls for ‘improved coordination and information sharing with NGOs, states, cities, and other stakeholders.’ I urgently request that CBP and your Administration proactively engage and coordinate with these entities to prevent individuals and families from being released in areas without resources and logistics in place. I ask that you quickly assess current federal coordination efforts and provide a more detailed plan to improve the process for our nation… Lastly, I request that funding from the newly formed Shelter and Services Program be distributed in a transparent, equitable and accessible manner so that borderlands NGOs and local governments that have been assisting migrants are able to continue their vital work. It’s critical that we surge federal funding for these entities that support asylum seekers, including funding and transportation, as soon as possible to assist these communities with capacity issues.”

The full letter can be found here.

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