Washington (May 23, 2024) -- Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement on the Border Act.

“I have long prioritized pathways to citizenship, fair adjudication of asylum claims, limitations on detention, and more legal pathways to entry. Any of these policies would help the executive branch manage the border and the reception of new arrivals in the interior. None of these policies are present in the Border Act, and I voted no. It simply does not address the root causes of the situation at our southern border.   

“Our management strategy of new arrivals must include genuine expanded access. Without adequate legal pathways, people fleeing dangerous or oppressive conditions will only become more desperate and border communities will only become more chaotic. Detention and deportations should not be the only tools we use to respond to record levels of global migration. There are smarter steps the United States can take to manage high volumes of new arrivals. These include increased funding for Shelter and Services Programs (SSP), serious investment in immigration courts and asylum officers, increased investment in processing capacity at ports of entry, and creation of new legal pathways to entry. The United States can better manage high numbers of new arrivals without sacrificing fairness. 

“But these are the solutions that Congressional Republicans, in fealty to Donald Trump, will not support. They do not support a pathway to citizenship. They do not support our DREAMers. They do not support expanded investments to manage new arrivals. They do not support comprehensive immigration reform. They do not even support the Border Act, legislation that they asked for but voted against because Donald Trump told them to, saying ‘blame it on me’ when it gets defeated. 

“I will continue fighting in partnership with the Healey-Driscoll administration and the Congressional delegation for more funding for Massachusetts to continue to step up and provide services to new arrivals while they await their status determinations. Today, Senator Warren and I called on U.S. Senate appropriators to ensure that no less than $500 million in funding is devoted for a new Destination Reception Fund to complement the existing SSP funding in supporting new arrivals. This funding would support additional ongoing services and supports in destination states including Massachusetts, helping new arrivals attain self-sufficiency and reduce the use of expensive transition out of emergency shelters.” 

Senators Markey, Warren, and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today 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.