Washington (December 6, 2023) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representatives Richard E. Neal (MA-01), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), and Bill Keating (MA-09) in writing to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) raising concerns about a lack of federal funding for non-border states like Massachusetts experiencing a significant influx of migrants and requesting additional federal support for the Commonwealth’s shelter and service programs.

“While the Shelter and Services Program (SSP) funding is designed to support the type of services our state is now providing to 7,500 families, SSP funding has not been equitably distributed, leaving Massachusetts to expend increasingly large sums of money to provide humanitarian aid to arriving migrants,” the lawmakers wrote. “This presents a significant challenge to Massachusetts and other interior states, which have encountered an unprecedented influx of migrant arrivals. We ask that you continue supporting increased SSP funding levels and ensure equitable distribution of SSP funds between interior states and border states.”

According to the Healey-Driscoll Administration, Massachusetts was spending more than $45 million per month as of August to provide shelter and support services for migrants. However, the Commonwealth has received just $2 million in federal support through FEMA’s Shelter and Services Program (SSP). As part of its supplemental national security request, the White House asked Congress to allocate an additional $1.4 billion in SSP funding, which under current distribution models would provide little relief to interior states like Massachusetts.

“SSP funds are vital to support states encountering large numbers of migrants who need humanitarian assistance. However, the $1.4 billion requested in the supplemental will not cover the high expenses states are currently encountering, especially interior states,” the lawmakers continued. “Therefore, the $1.4 billion supplemental request is a fraction of the collective need of our state, interior states, and border communities. As such, we urge you to distribute all future SSP funds equitably, ensuring a fair and humanitarian response to the surge in migration.”

Today’s letter is the latest action by the Massachusetts Delegation to push for stronger federal assistance for migrants in the Commonwealth. In September 2022, the Delegation wrote to DHS and FEMA requesting accelerated disbursement of Emergency Food and Shelter Program funding for organizations providing humanitarian assistance to migrants in Massachusetts. Then, earlier this year, the Delegation wrote to DHS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services urging the administration to streamline and expedite the processes for approving work authorizations for migrants.

A copy of the letter sent today can be accessed HERE.