U.S. Senators from Maine Angus King and Susan Collins, alongside Democratic District 1 Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, sent a letter Wednesday to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting a rule change that would provide more funding to shelters for migrants.
King, Collins and Pingree are requesting that if Congress provides additional funding for the Shelter and Services Program (SSP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that the 45-day limitation on that federal aid for migrants be increased to 180 days.
FEMA’s SSP funding provides aid to local governments and nonprofit organizations that provide shelter and other services to noncitizen migrants who have been encountered by DHS and released from custody while awaiting the outcome of their immigration proceedings — a designation which applies to “asylum seekers.”
The SSP has no defined legal limit, but the eligibility period for the funds typically lasts 45 days from the release of a migrant by DHS.
King, Collins and Pingree wrote that the 45-day limitation is “inappropriate for migrant destination locations like Maine.”
“Maine immigrant services groups struggle with the 45-day limitation because migrants arriving in the state have typically been released from DHS custody many days prior, reducing the period in which these individuals and families may receive support,” they wrote.