Kyrsten Sinema

02/13/2024 | Press release | Archived content

Sinema Statement on Senate Passage of National Security Supplemental

Sinema Secures Additional Relief for Border Communities

Feb 16, 2024

Senator fought for months to allow Arizona organizations on the front lines of the border crisis to receive a more accurate federal reimbursement for migrant services

WASHINGTON - Following months pressing the administration,Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will now allow more flexibility when deciding how much to reimburse Arizona border organizations for their migrant services, better reflecting the on-the-ground realities of the border crisis and allowing these organizations to receive more funding for the critical services they provide supporting migrants and keeping our communities safe. The bipartisan border security bill, negotiated by Sinema, contained additional funding for border communities. Unfortunately for Arizonans and the country, the bill was rejected by partisans more interested in politics than delivering solutions.

"I'm proud to secure relief for Arizona border organizations who do the impossible work keeping Arizona communities safe and providing services to migrants in the middle of a security and humanitarian crisis. This long overdue policy change recognizes the realities Arizona border communities face every day and simplifies the reimbursement process as Arizona continues to shoulder the burden of the border crisis," said Sinema, Chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee.

Under Shelter and Services Program (SSP) guidelines, FEMA requires non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to collect Alien Numbers (A-Numbers), sensitive identification numbers associated with each migrant's file, for all individuals they serve and prohibits reimbursement anytime the A-number is incorrect or missing. Due to paperwork errors, migrants are regularly transitioned directly from CBP custody to an NGO with a duplicate, incomplete, or missing A-Number. Under current policy, NGOs do not receive reimbursement for services they provide when such a situation occurs. FEMA's announcement allowing for a 5% A-Number margin of error provides much needed flexibility for Arizona NGOs to get reimbursed for the migrants they serve.

Last October during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, Sinema pressed the Secretary of Homeland Security to address this issue.

The bipartisan border security bill, negotiated by Sinema and ultimately rejected by partisans to score political points, would have provided additional funding for border communities. Additionally, Sinema's package would have reasserted control of the border, protected border communities, disrupted the flow of fentanyl into the country, and allowed the federal government to get the border crisis under control by ending catch and release, strengthening our asylum system by delivering determinations efficiently and fairly, enhancing security, and improving the legal immigration system.

Click HERE to read the bill text,HEREto read a brief summary, HEREto read a section-by-section of the bill, andHEREto view a Myth v. Fact sheet.