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Friday, December 8th, 2023

Reps. Cuellar, Katko introduce bill to manage migrant surges

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U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and John Katko (R-NY) introduced legislation Friday to address migrant surges at the border that would hold agencies accountable and prevent children from being held longer than they should.

The legislation, the Border Surge Response and Resilience Act, would require the Department of Homeland Security and its federal partners to establish plans to address surges of migrants while working to mitigate bottlenecks, the congressmen said.

“It is critical that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proactive and develops a strategy to adequately manage large migration flows at our southern border,” Cuellar, vice chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, said. “This bipartisan legislation will allow the federal government to employ a whole-of-government approach to create a response framework that anticipates migration surges, allowing them to quickly shift resources and take immediate action to mitigate a humanitarian crisis. As the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, I will continue to fund programs that work to address current and future migrant flows, and also develop bipartisan legislation to address border challenges.”

The bill would allow DHS to address immediate resource needs, such as funding, when a humanitarian crisis arises at the border, eliminating the need for the department to reprogram money from other security priorities. The bill would prevent the DHS from struggling to get necessary supplies while waiting for Congress to allocate supplemental funds.

“After hearing firsthand from border patrol agents, it’s clear they need interagency backup and accountability across the Federal Government to appropriately handle border surges,” said Katko, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “Agents and officers on the frontlines are suffering through another crisis, in the midst of a global pandemic, and some still haven’t been vaccinated. We need greater confidence that the Federal Government can manage these crises going forward. This bill would do just that.”