Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a former Democrat, slammed the Biden administration and Democratic leaders for providing New York City with over $104 million to address the migrant crisis while only providing Arizona with less than $24 million.
Sinema, now a registered independent, told Politico in an interview published Wednesday that she is “livid” about the administration’s decision to provide more funding to New York City than to a border state on the front lines of the migrant crisis.
In June, it was revealed that Biden’s White House would provide New York City $104.6 million of an $800 million NEW Shelter Services Program grant.
The Arizona senator noted that she only learned how much New York City would receive of those funds when House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and United States Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a press release.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but the announcement about that $104 million came out first, in a joint press release from Schumer and Jeffries — not from the White House or from [the Federal Emergency Management Agency],” Sinema told Politico.
“The first news of it broke by their press release. Now, how did that happen?” Sinema questioned.
That same month, according to its website, FEMA gave Arizona just $23,890,395 through that state’s Shelter and Services Program.
Jeffries' and Schumer’s joint press release claimed that New York City had been burdened with a disproportionate surge of asylum-seekers. They touted that their negotiation efforts with the White House secured “the largest share of the federal dollars released via the new Shelter Services Program.”
“When we negotiated these funds into the budget for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program and the new Shelter Services Program, it was with New York City’s needs front and center – and the share of funding of this tranche reflects that intent,” the Democrats stated. “Today’s funds represent a strong step in the right direction – which better recognizes and rewards New York City’s unique challenge.”
Sinema told the Department of Homeland Security and the Biden administration that the decision was “outrageous” and “deeply, deeply wrong.”
She added that it is “very frustrating” that there appears to be a “lack of understanding of what the experience is like in border communities and a willingness to shortchange the work that is happening in those communities without realizing the impact it has on the entire system.”
A White House spokesperson told Politico, “This administration has been working from day one to build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system, and we’ve led the largest expansion of lawful pathways for immigration in decades.”
“We are committed to our continued partnership with border communities to ensure they can receive the support they need,” the spokesperson added.
The New York Post reported that Sinema told an attendee at an August roundtable in Yuma that the Biden administration gave the money to New York City because Jeffries and Schumer are from there.
“The money was intended, and there’s language that was put in in the law that said it should be going for decompression at the border,” Sinema reportedly said. “The fact that a yeoman’s amount of this money went to New York City, in my opinion, is wrong because they are not a border state and they are not facing the kind of pressure that we are facing here.”
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