Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Announces Reimbursement Opportunity for Those Affected by Humanitarian Crisis at Border

Congressman announces border cities and counties will now be eligible for FEMA grants

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) today announced that border communities affected by the humanitarian crisis that developed last year as a result of an influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the border into the United States will be eligible for financial reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


“As someone who lives here in Laredo myself, I know all too well that communities along the border are responsible for dealing with a lot of important and expensive challenges like providing humanitarian relief to children who have come to our country,” Congressman Cuellar said. “It’s important that the federal government mitigate these expenses and provide resources to assist with handling the issues that are unique to the cities and counties along border. I want to thank Senator John Cornyn and Chairman John Carter for working with me on a bipartisan solution to this problem.”

Law enforcement, non-profits, religious, governmental and other community partners who incurred unexpected costs due to the surge will be able to apply for reimbursements due to an addition Cuellar included in the FY2015 Department of Homeland Security funding bill.

The language adds a provision which makes costs of providing humanitarian relief to unaccompanied alien children and to alien adults and their minor children eligible for reimbursement under certain Homeland Security grants to Southwest border recipients for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The influx of unaccompanied alien children and families that came across the Southwest border overwhelmed federal resources and put a burden on state and local jurisdictions, particularly small counties, cities, and non-profits along the border. Awards may be used for reimbursement of costs related to providing humanitarian relief to unaccompanied children and families, including costs for food, water, hygiene products, medicine, medical supplies and temporary housing, as well as costs for transportation to and from temporary housing or to permanent housing.

This is part of a continued effort by Cuellar to ensure local communities along the border receive the reimbursements and support they need to address the humanitarian crisis that occurred due to unaccompanied minors crossing the border. Last July, the Appropriations Committee included language to address reimbursements in response to Cuellar’s request to Chairman Hal Rodgers to provide resources and assist with costs related to providing humanitarian relief to unaccompanied children and family units who have entered the United States.

Last year, Cuellar also sent a letter to FEMA requesting reimbursements for local governments and law enforcement that bear undue burdens along the border and has worked with the FEMA Grant Directorate and Texas Department of Public Safety to increase funding to border communities.