September 20, 2022
Pressley, Warren, Mass. Lawmakers Request FEMA Expedite Assistance for Asylum Seekers
“We respectfully ask for your continued assistance to ensure that the federal government is a helpful partner to those doing important humanitarian work on the ground”
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and members of the Massachusetts delegation in sending a letter asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to use their administrative authorities to ensure that the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is awarding funds as quickly as possible, and with as little bureaucratic delay as possible, to Massachusetts entities that are providing humanitarian aid to migrants arriving in Boston and flown to Martha’s Vineyard.
“We would like to request that you use your administrative authorities to ensure that FEMA’s EFSP is awarding funds as quickly as possible, and with as little bureaucratic delay as possible, to Massachusetts entities providing important assistance to migrants,” wrote the lawmakers.
The letter was also signed by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Lori Trahan (MA-03), and William Keating (MA-09).
On September 14, nearly 50 Venezuelan migrants were flown to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. With no advance notice of the arrivals, the community scrambled to provide assistance. Although Massachusetts has proved itself fully capable of providing aid to these families in need, the lawmakers have received multiple inquiries from organizations requesting financial assistance from the federal government. This follows a recent uptick in predominantly Haitian migrants who have arrived in Boston in recent months.
The lawmakers are asking FEMA and DHS to use their administrative authorities to ensure that EFSP is awarding funds as quickly as possible, and with as little bureaucratic delay as possible, to Massachusetts entities that are providing humanitarian aid to migrants.
“Moreover, we ask that if Massachusetts entities seek for their humanitarian work other sources of funding that are within your purview, you work to ensure that this assistance is unlocked and disbursed as expeditiously as possible,” concluded the lawmakers.
Rep. Pressley recently joined Senator Markey and members of the Massachusetts delegation in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) urging OIG to review the State of Florida’s apparent misuse of federal pandemic relief funds from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF), created under the American Rescue Plan Act, to relocate vulnerable immigrants from Florida to other states across the country.
She also issued a statement regarding the arrival of migrants in Massachusetts.
Earlier this month, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), and Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), sent a letter with 19 colleagues to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that the upcoming fiscal year 2023 continuing resolution provide an additional $50 million above the enacted fiscal year 2022 level to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program for humanitarian assistance to migrants.