Lawmakers request $500 million for sustainable housing, health, workforce development, and legal assistance support

Letter (PDF)

Washington (May 23, 2024) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chair Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Ranking Member Katie Britt (R-Ala.) requesting at least $500 million for a new Destination Reception Fund (DRF) to support new arrivals, complementing the existing FEMA Shelter and Services Program (SSP). The DRF would support ongoing services and essential programs that offer basic needs, helping new arrivals attain self-sufficiency and transition out of emergency shelters. The senators also urged appropriators to allocate $20 million to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an Office of Reception Coordination that would share timely information about released populations with receiving states and localities to better plan local responses.

The SSP provides states and localities with short-term assistance to cover the cost of basic needs for asylum seekers released from government custody. The new DRF would supplement the SSP by providing medium-term funding that supports sustainable housing support; health and interpretation services; workforce development programs; legal assistance; service navigation; and other relevant state or local programs. Providing medium-term federal assistance, along with work authorizations, will help individuals and families transition into stable jobs and housing as they go through the immigration process.

The senators wrote, “As you develop the Fiscal Year 2025 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, we urge you to expand federal assistance to destination states and localities helping families and individuals attain self-sufficiency.”

The senators continued, “By helping new arrivals achieve stability in the United States, Congress would support not only migrant families themselves but also the local economies across the country that benefit from their contributions. The DRF could unlock new opportunities and additional benefits for newcomers to help stimulate economic activity in their communities.”