May 23, 2024

Warren, Markey, Durbin Urge Additional Funding to Support New Arrivals, Supplement Local Efforts

The newly proposed ‘Destination Reception Fund’ would designate $500 million for sustainable housing, health, workforce development, and legal assistance support.

“[This] funding would provide for a continuum of orderly reception that effectively supports receiving communities and provides a more dignified welcome to families and individuals seeking safety in our country.”

Letter Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward J. Markey (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 Shelter and Services Program (SSP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

The new program 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.

“[W]e urge you to expand federal assistance to destination states and localities helping families and individuals attain self-sufficiency as they go through the immigration process,” wrote the senators. “In particular, we recommend complementing the existing Shelter and Services Program (SSP) with support for a Destination Reception Fund (DRF) that would fund medium-term services for new arrivals to help reduce the use of expensive emergency shelters.”

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, helping individuals and families transition into stable jobs and housing as they go through the immigration process.

“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 senators continued. “The DRF could unlock new opportunities and additional benefits for newcomers to help stimulate economic activity in their communities.”

“This additional funding would provide for a continuum of orderly reception that effectively supports receiving communities and provides a more dignified welcome to families and individuals seeking safety in our country,” the senators concluded. 

Senator Warren has led ongoing efforts to protect the rights of asylum seekers and other migrants, and to hold the United States accountable to its humanitarian obligations: 

  • In February 2024, Senators Warren and Markey sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine), urging them to increase funding for FEMA’s SSP to $5 billion in the upcoming Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill for fiscal year 2024. Funding would support entities that provide shelter and services to new arrivals, which is timely as Massachusetts works to meet migrants’ housing needs.

  • In February 2024, Senator Warren and colleagues submitted an amendment to the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024 that would provide $5 billion for the FEMA SSP without requiring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ramp up its detention and deportation efforts.

  • In December 2023, Senator Warren, along with the entire Massachusetts delegation, wrote to 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 SSP funding for the Commonwealth.

  • In November 2023, Warren, Markey, Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ur Jaddou, commending DHS for the steps it has taken to expand access to employment authorization documents (EADs) for eligible noncitizens, and laying out several policy proposals to help address delays in issuing EADs. 

  • In September 2023, Senators Warren and Markey applauded the Biden administration’s redesignation of TPS for Venezuelan migrants.

  • In August 2023, Senators Warren and Markey and Representatives Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Bill Keating (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Secretary Mayorkas and Director Jaddou, urging them to expedite the processing of EADs for individuals paroled into the United States, which would lessen the strain on available humanitarian and housing resources. 

  • In March 2023, Senators Warren, Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Alex Padilla and 9 other senators submitted a public comment against the Biden administration’s proposed rule to restrict asylum at the southern border. The senators called on the Biden administration to withdraw the rule in its entirety.

  • In January 2023, Senator Warren and nearly 70 other lawmakers sent a letter urging President Biden to reverse his Administration’s expansion of the inhumane Trump-era border policy known as Title 42 and to abandon the proposed asylum “transit ban” rule. The lawmakers also encouraged the President and his Administration to work with Congress to develop safe, humane, and orderly border policies that enforce our immigration laws and uphold the right to asylum under domestic and international law.

  • In September 2022, Senator Warren led members of the Massachusetts delegation in a letter to DHS and FEMA calling for funding from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to be allocated swiftly to organizations assisting newly arrived migrants in Massachusetts. 

  • In September 2022, Senator Warren released a statement condemning efforts to use asylum seekers as political pawns and committing to assisting communities in need. 

  • In November 2021, Senator Warren stated her opposition to the continued use of Title 42 to expel asylum seekers and called for the Biden administration to rescind this policy.

  • In October 2021, Senator Warren joined Senator Menendez in criticizing the inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants and called on the Administration to support long-term stability in Haiti.  

  • In October 2021, Senator Warren called on Chris Magnus to commit to transparency regarding the investigation into the events in Del Rio, Texas during his confirmation hearing to be CBP Commissioner.