September 23, 2022
Pressley, Norton, García, Espaillat, Colleagues Urge DHS to Investigate States’ Migrant Relocation Programs, Protect Vulnerable Asylum Seekers
“[DHS] should play absolutely no role in advancing the inhumane stunts orchestrated by the governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida.”
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), and Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging DHS to condemn and investigate states’ cruel migrant relocation programs and protect vulnerable asylum seekers from deportation.
“The exploitation of asylum seekers, refugees, and other immigrants contradicts the values of our nation and the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including Customs and Border Protection, should play absolutely no role in advancing the inhumane stunts orchestrated by the governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida.”
In their letter, the lawmakers urged DHS to issue clear guidance throughout the agency, including to Customs and Border Protection, prohibiting staff from encouraging migrants on to buses and planes to unknown cities. The lawmakers also asked that DHS take steps to prevent in absentia orders of removal for migrants that were manipulated by the governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Finally, the lawmakers called for a federal investigation of each state’s relocation program to identify the migrants impacted and the actors who harmed them.
“It is incumbent upon your agency to unequivocally condemn state officials who dehumanize immigrants and treat them as political pawns,” the lawmakers continued. “The United States should have a welcoming, equitable, and just immigration system, and your leadership is critical to achieving that goal.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Alma Adams (NC-12), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Danny Davis (IL-07), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), William Keating (MA-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Andy Levin (MI-09), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), James P. McGovern (MA-02); Grace Men (NY-06), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Marie Newman (IL-03), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Janice Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Takano, (CA-41), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24).
Earlier this week, Rep. Pressley joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in asking he 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 to Massachusetts entities that are providing humanitarian aid to migrants arriving in Boston and flown to Martha’s Vineyard.
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.