Arizona Sen. furious to receive half as much migrant crisis money as NYC

  • FEMA has given more than $290 million to help address the migrant crisis
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is livid Arizona is losing migrant crisis money to NYC
  • NYC says it is barely scraping by in providing for its migrant population

(NewsNation) — Arizona leaders are calling for more funding to be directed to the southern border as states like New York are getting nearly double the amount of money to address the migrant crisis.

This year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has given more than $290 million to help fund migrant shelters and provide health care, food and other services to border communities.

Of the money that FEMA is giving out, Arizona is set to receive $69.4 million, and the state is home to one of the busiest sectors right now. Meanwhile, New York is set up for $134.6 million in funding. This funding comes from an $800 million pot set aside by Congress for the border crisis.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is “livid” communities in her state are losing money to cities so far from the southern border, saying she wants Arizona to receive its “fair share.”

While Arizona sees significantly more migrants entering the state, the number of migrants that stay there is much lower. Still, facilities in border communities can still feel the impact of the high numbers.

The Yuma Regional Medical Center is sitting on more than $26 million in uncompensated migrant care, and in June, the Yuma Community Food Bank saw a 20% increase in migrants seeking residency there in order to receive the benefits.

Sinema says while the money earmarked by Congress for the border crisis should stay on the front lines, New York is getting preferential treatment because high-profile lawmakers are from there.

But New York has already spent $1.73 billion providing care to more than 100,000 migrants since April 2022, according to the city, and anticipates spending another $5 billion this fiscal year alone.

“None of this is ideal. None of this is even good. We’re barely scraping by. And we just need more support,” said Fabien Levy, press secretary for the office of New York Mayor Eric Adams.

New York City says if things don’t change, it will spend $12 billion in the next three years.

The high cost of housing asylum seekers in the city is due, in part, to New York’s unique “right to shelter” law. This law requires the city to provide housing to every unhoused person, and some housing options cost more than others.

“We need things to change. We are going to make things change on the city level, we need our state and federal partners to do a little bit more so that we do that. $12 billion is not an acceptable number,” Levy said at a press conference.

Despite Sinema’s protest, New York’s Mayor Adams has repeatedly pointed the finger at Texas Gov. Greg Abbot for what he calls a political move of bussing migrants to the Northeast.

However, many of the migrants NewsNation has spoken to say they were headed to New York regardless.

While federal funds from FEMA are aimed at helping house and feed migrants, law enforcement officials say they need more resources as well, in part to address a rise in armed cartel members spotted crossing the border.

In Texas, two Cartel Del Noreste members were found with loaded rifles and armor-piercing ammunition last Thursday during an operation involving multiple law enforcement agencies.

“Whether you’re using intimidation tactics towards our troopers or national guard or even border patrol agents, and also them crossing the river themselves, heavily armed, it’s become a more common occurrence,” Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez said.

Border Report

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