MCALLEN, TX – Yesterday, after tireless efforts between Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Congressman Henry Cuellar, Senator John Cornyn, Governor Greg Abbott, and McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, the Homeland Security Grants Division (HSGD) of the Governor’s Office announced the awarding of grants to several local entities for Humanitarian Relief for Unaccompanied Children and Families.
Together, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, and the City of McAllen were awarded over $350,000 in federal funds. These grant funds are to reimburse the entities for costs such as food, shelter transportation, and medical expenses incurred between 2014 and 2016 due to the large amount of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas.
In 2015, Senator Hinojosa, in coordination with Congressman Cuellar, added a measure into the state supplemental appropriations bill to reflect a provision in a federal appropriations bill that would allow the state to use Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to reimburse the entities for their costs incurred to provide humanitarian relief. However, due to a misinterpretation from FEMA, the release of the funds was delayed.
In 2017, Senator Hinojosa met with Governor Abbott’s staff who agreed to send a letter to FEMA requesting that previously awarded but unspent 2014 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funds be returned to the State of Texas to relieve the financial burden on our border communities from humanitarian relief efforts. FEMA approved the request and, following an application process, granted the funds.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“After years of effort, I’m pleased that the City of McAllen, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley have finally been reimbursed by the federal government for some of the costs they incurred in responding to the influx of unaccompanied children and families from Central America between 2014 and 2016.
I want to compliment Congressman Henry Cuellar, Senator John Cornyn, Governor Greg Abbott, and McAllen Mayor Jim Darling for working on this bipartisan effort between federal, state, and local officials to ensure that these entities did not bear all the costs associated with their herculean efforts to manage a humanitarian crisis.
I also want to thank Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, and the City of McAllen for stepping up and providing humanitarian aid to children and families in their time of need.”
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling issued the following statement:
“Oh behalf of the City of McAllen, I want to express deep appreciation to Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa for their efforts in obtaining the reimbursement funds for the City’s operational costs incurred at the respite center. Through their efforts, we were able to obtain reimbursement for providing some basic services in the operation of the center. I would also like to thank Senator Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar for their efforts at the federal level.”
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development, Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs and Transportation.