Bipartisan Effort Pushes for First Responder Funding in Border Cities

( – Two lawmakers, one Republican and one Democrat, have called on the House Appropriations Committee to allocate more budget to first responders on the US-Mexico border. Republican representative Michael McCaul, from Texas, and Democrat representative Ruben Gallego, from Arizona, have jointly written to the committee to request more funding for those dealing with the consequences of high numbers of illegal border crossings.

As the pair note in their request, addressed to committee chairwoman Kay Granger and Rosa DeLauro, a ranking member of the committee, local police officers cannot enforce migration law. While they cannot act in any way to stem the flow of migrants, they are relied upon by their local communities to tackle any alleged criminal activity committed by those migrants. With 269,000 migrants crossing the border in the month prior to writing the letter, the US has seen an all-time high of 2.4 million border crossings in the last year.

This sustained, high level of migrant activity at the border places strain on first responders in the local area, the bipartisan pair explain in their missive. Law enforcement officers, medical treatment centers and fire departments all receive numerous calls as a direct result of migrant activity. With increased numbers of illegal migrants come increased reports of trespassing, organized criminal activity, and loitering made to police departments. Every call is another use of police time and resource, and the lawmakers have expressed concern that this could raise difficult questions for first responders when trying to decide how to allocate their vital resources.

Time is running out for the House to decide how to allocate budget for the next fiscal year, with a potential government shutdown looming should the November 17 deadline pass without the question of next year’s budget being resolved. The House has so far passed five spending bills, none of which have yet come to be voted on in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans remain at loggerheads over the size of the coming year’s budget.

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