U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small has introduced a bill that would provide $180 million in federal funding to reimburse organizations that provide assistance to illegal immigrants.
The Southern Border Communities Relief Act, introduced by Torres Small on Oct. 2, would authorize $60 million for the next three fiscal years to reimburse organizations that provide humanitarian support for illegal immigrants at the southern border. It would also authorize funds for the reimbursement of services provided beginning on July 1. Current reimbursement funding is only eligible for services provided from Jan. 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019.
Torres Small, D-Las Cruces, said in a news release the legislation takes the lessons learned during rampant illegal immigration earlier this year, when nonprofits, churches and local organizations fed and sheltered illegal immigrants released into their communities by federal authorities after hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants were apprehended at the southern border.
Torres Small, who refers to the southern border crisis as a “humanitarian crisis,” said the bill addresses the challenges local communities faced when illegal immigrants were located in their communities with little notice. It asks that U.S. Customs and Border Protection create a standard protocol in cases of own recognizance release to improve local coordination and compliance with notices to appear for follow-up immigration proceedings.
“Throughout the year, border communities alongside nonprofits and faith groups have risen to meet the challenges associated with the humanitarian crisis at their doors, exemplifying true New Mexican values,” Torres Small said in the news release. “The federal government cannot continue to take advantage of their hard work though. My bill takes the lessons learned from this situation and works to ensure that sudden policy changes do not leave our communities fending for themselves again.”
Torres Small has been reluctant to acknowledge the illegality of illegal immigration, instead referring to the thousands of illegal immigrants who were released into communities earlier this year as “migrants released into their communities after they voluntarily presented at the southern border.”
“I fought hard alongside the rest of the New Mexican delegation to secure the funds to reimburse the organizations who answered with empathy, but I want to make sure we don’t put our communities in the same situation again,” said the freshman congresswoman.