Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President, Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Emergency Border Funding package:

“America’s mayors applaud the Senate Appropriations Committee’s inclusion of $30 million to reimburse local governments and non-governmental organizations for the care of homeless migrants in the border supplemental measure it reported out today.  The large influx of migrants across the border so far this year, has led to an undeniable humanitarian crisis. This funding will help our local governments and agencies respond to the needs of these migrants.

“Last week 22 mayors of cities on or near the border sent a letter to Appropriation Committee members urging them to include such a provision in the bill.  We are pleased the Committee responded to their request quickly and in such a strong bipartisan manner.

“As action now moves to the Senate floor and to the House, we call on both chambers to act quickly so that these funds can get to the local level and help alleviate the mounting pressure on our limited resources.  We remain hopeful that both the Senate and House will continue to work with mayors on addressing this crisis.  We are confident that together we can forge a path forward that puts partisan politics aside and prioritizes compassion as well as the dignity of human life.”

See below for full text of letter:


June 14, 2019

The Honorable Richard Shelby Chairman

Senate Committee on Appropriations

Room S-128

The Capitol

Washington, DC 20510


The Honorable Patrick Leahy

Vice Chairman

Senate Committee on Appropriations

Room S-128

The Capitol

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairman Leahy:

We the undersigned represent local governments and municipalities across the southern border region of the United States. As you consider the Administration’s request for $4.5 billion in emergency appropriations, we write today to urge bipartisan support for direct funding and resources to help our communities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) address the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the southern border.

The migration of asylum seekers has significantly increased in recent months. According to Fiscal Year 2019 data published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), there were 593,507 apprehensions along the southern border as of May 31, with family units and unaccompanied minors accounting for 65.6 percent of apprehensions. In the month of May alone, CBP detained 132,887 migrants, whereas in April, there were 99,304 apprehensions.

Many of these migrants request asylum in the United States. Once processed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP officials, they are released until their formal asylum hearings, which can take weeks or even months. In the meantime, these individuals and families are transported to communities across the southern region of the United States, primarily in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Until families released by ICE and CBP can connect with family or sponsors to arrange for travel, it is up to community nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and local governments to provide shelter, transportation, food, and other services to these migrant families. Our local taxpayer funds are being expended to address the situation and our nonprofit and faith-based organizations are at or exceeding capacity.

For these reasons, we request that, as you consider allocating federal dollars and resources to address the humanitarian crisis at the border, you ensure a portion of these funds are directed to those at the local level who are expending resources to deal with the ramifications of federal policy.



Mayor Jerry Weiers Glendale, AZ

Mayor John Giles Mesa, AZ

Mayor Kate Gallego Phoenix, AZ

Mayor Greg Mengarelli Prescott, AZ

Mayor Mark W. Mitchell Tempe, AZ

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild Tucson AZ

Mayor Douglas J. Nicholls Yuma, AZ

Mayor Jesse Arreguin Berkeley, CA

Mayor Robert Garcia Long Beach, CA

Mayor Eric Garcetti Los Angeles, CA

Mayor Kevin Faulconer San Diego, CA

Mayor Patrick J. Furey Torrance, CA

Mayor Christopher L. Cabaldon West Sacramento, CA

Mayor Michael Hancock Denver, CO

Mayor Tim Keller Albuquerque, NM

Mayor Kenneth D. Miyagishima Las Cruces, NM

Mayor Alan Webber Santa Fe, NM

Mayor Steve Adler Austin, TX

Mayor Antonio ‘Tony’ Martinez Brownsville, TX

Mayor Mike Rawlings Dallas, TX

Mayor Dee Margo El Paso, TX

Mayor James E. Darling McAllen, TX