(USNewsMag.com) – In a bipartisan effort, two lower chamber lawmakers have joined forces to call on the House Appropriations Committee to approve additional funding for first responders dealing with the immigration crisis in border communities.
Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas sent a joint letter to Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, who is the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee. In that letter, the two congressmen requested extra funding for first responders in border towns, which they argue are being hit the hardest by the immigration crisis.
The letter asks the committee to “include funding for critical programs” that will assist “first responders” in areas most impacted by immigration as they “consider potential supplemental” funding for Fiscal Year 2024. The lawmakers noted in the letter that local officials “across the country,” including emergency centers, fire departments, and police departments, are facing “significant resource strains” due to the migrant crisis.
The two lawmakers noted the serious and “dramatic uptick” in illegal immigrant crossings at the border, with over 269,000 encounters last month alone and a “historic 2.4 million” over the last year. The two also pointed out how local police departments aren’t allowed to directly enforce immigration laws while “significantly more calls” are coming in from first responders regarding “criminal activity, loitering,” and “trespassing,” as well as medical emergencies.
According to Gallego and McCaul, “every call” to the various departments “increases the strain on resources” and “makes it harder” for personnel “to help taxpaying permanent residents.”
Twelve different spending bills have been passed by the House so far to keep the government funded until the next fiscal year, and three more are waiting in the wings for consideration. None of them have made it to the Senate for a vote yet as Congress continues to debate what should be funded.
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