Murkowski Supports Southern Border Emergency Supplemental Package

Bill Addresses Humanitarian and U.S. Border Security Crisis

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today voted for a funding measure to address the immediate humanitarian and security crisis at the U.S. southern border. Since May, 2019, the average daily number of unaccompanied children in U.S. Customs and border Security has grown from 870 to more than 2,300. The emergency supplemental bill, which provides a total of $4.59 billion to address the border crisis, advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a vote of 30-1, sending it to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill addresses the increased influx of migrants at the U.S. southern border by providing additional funding for new immigration judge teams, as well as support for medical care, clothing, and other essential items for migrants. Provisions to help ensure the safety and welfare of children in HHS custody, such as ensuring shelters meet child welfare standards, are also included in the bill. The bill provides funding for Homeland Security Investigations, counter-human trafficking operations, and for background investigations and facilities inspections.

“It’s imperative that we address the humanitarian needs arising out of the crisis along our southern border. This bipartisan bill will provide assistance to those that need our help: families, children, and law enforcement officers.” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m glad that we were able to come to an agreement, on a measure that provides care for unaccompanied children, improves our ability to process asylum seekers, and ensures that detained individuals have adequate food, shelter, and medical attention. The overwhelming influx of families and children coming into America presents incredible challenges to our operations and facilities and places both asylum applicants and Border Patrol Agents at serious risk. It’s our duty to provide border security professionals that are serving on the front lines with the support they need and to ensure that those seeking refuge in our nation are treated humanely.”

Bill Highlights: (Click here for bill text)

  • JUSTICE: Provides support for the hiring of 30 additional Immigration Judge Teams (attorneys, law clerks, paralegals, courtroom administrators, and other support staff), which includes for the purchase or lease of immigration judge courtroom space and equipment. Also allocates additional funding for expenses related to detainees in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, such as housing, transportation, and care.
  • DEFENSE: Provides operation and maintenance support to the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army National Guard, for expenses to respond to the significant rise in unaccompanied minors and family unit undocumented individuals at the southwest border, including medical assistance, command and control, and mobile surveillance.
  • CARE –Food, Shelter, Medical, and Transportation: Provides support to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for establishing and operating migrant care and processing facilities, such as medical care and transportation for medical needs and court proceedings. Additional support is provided for FEMA’s energy food and shelter program, including to reimburse states, local governments, and non-governmental organizations for care of homeless migrants.
  • UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN: To address the significant rise in unaccompanied minors and ensure the safety and welfare of children in custody, the bill provides additional support for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program, allowing the agency to expand its shelter capacity.

Related Issues: Defense