LAREDO, Texas (Border Report) – The federal government is giving out nearly $300 million in new FEMA funds to nonprofit organizations that help to feed and shelter asylum-seeking migrants.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that the first tranche of $290 million would be given in Fiscal Year 2023 to 34 non-governmental organizations that offer temporary shelter and other assistance for migrants who have been processed and provisionally released from DHS custody in the United States.
As part of the FY23 Shelter and Services Program, Catholic Charities of Laredo has been awarded $6.4 million, and the Laredo Fire Department will receive close to $6 million, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, announced.
“It is critical that we bring law and order to our southern border. I have been working in constant coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and our local entities here in Laredo to tackle the challenges that continue to arise in our border communities,” Cuellar said, adding that the grant funds “will reimburse Catholic Charities of Laredo and the Laredo Fire Department for their important work in alleviating pressure at our processing facilities.”
Catholic Charities of Laredo, part of the Diocese of Laredo, has three migrant shelters that help up to 500 people and have overnight facilities for 250 asylum-seekers, Rebecca Solloa, executive director of the nonprofit, told Border Report on Tuesday.
She said the additional federal funds are a God-send.
“This money helps us breathe. This money helps the programs to stay stable and available for all the migrants who are coming through our community,” Solloa said from her administrative offices in a quiet neighborhood in downtown Laredo.
Before Title 42 was lifted on May 11, thousands of asylum-seeking migrants were bused from Brownsville and other areas of the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso to Laredo to be processed.
Laredo has a soft-sided processing facility on the far southeast side of the city that became the destination location for many.
Those who were released often found themselves in Laredo with few resources and turned to organizations like Catholic Charities for help.
Solloa said her facilities were at capacity on a daily basis. Now they receive about 150 migrants per day who are released by DHS.
“The Laredo area processing center is considered a decompression zone so it decompresses other areas in other sections that are saturated, such as from Eagle Pass, Del Rio, El Paso. We’ve seen people from California, from Arizona, and from the RGV area. We’re still seeing maybe 150 per day which is still a very doable number compared to before Title 42 expired so we’re still kept busy because the other ports of entry are still busy,” she said.
A total of $363.8 million in FEMA funds have been earmarked and approved by Congress for distribution this fiscal year. DHS says an additional $73 million in allotments will be available later this summer.