Letter urges Congress to support robust funding for DHS

The Honorable Chris Murphy,
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Homeland Security
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito, Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Homeland Security
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Murphy and Ranking Member Capito:

On behalf of Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Charities network throughout the country and the U.S. territories, I urge you to support robust funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). At minimum, please maintain Fiscal Year 2022 funding levels for the key programs that respond to the needs of vulnerable populations, including migrants, asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, and disaster-stricken communities. As high inflation continues to impact the costs associated with serving these communities,  I encourage you to explore opportunities for additional funding above the FY 2022 levels.

Catholic Charities is one of the largest service provider networks in the country, with more than 100 years of social service and disaster response experience. Our agencies are frequently the first entities the federal government comes to for assistance with welcoming newcomers into this country and managing disaster response projects. We do this work in fulfillment of the Gospel, which compels us to welcome the stranger and to care for the poor.

Catholic Charities agencies provide a broad range of services to immigrants to help them make a new start in the United States. Recently, we answered the call to welcome Afghan and Ukrainian nationals into the country and provided humanitarian and respite care to refugees and asylum seekers along the U.S. southern border. We are thankful for funds that were provided in the 2022 omnibus package for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) as well as separate funding to resettle Afghans. These resources were instrumental in our efforts to serve these populations. Furthermore, Catholic Charities agencies provide citizenship and education training to facilitate full integration of immigrants to enable them to contribute to their communities with dignity. Therefore, I urge you to support, at minimum, FY 2022 funding levels to sustain these crucial immigration-related programs.

Additionally, our agencies collaborate with federal agencies to respond to communities that are impacted by natural disasters. Catholic Charities staff continue to respond to areas destroyed by wildfires and have worked tirelessly alongside federal government partners to serve displaced families. Robust funding for disaster assistance through FY 2023 would support government operations and boost our network’s response efforts in these areas.

While carrying out our ministry of service is a priority, the safety of our clients, staff and volunteers is equally important. Therefore, in light of heightened safety threats across the country aimed at faith-based and other institutions, I urge you to increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program above the FY 2022 levels. Specifically, provide at least $180 million under the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and at least $180 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) so that our network and other nonprofit agencies may strengthen security measures at their various service locations.

We remain committed to carrying out the Gospel mandate of welcoming the stranger and serving the poor, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with you to respond to these needs.

Sincerely,

Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD
President and CEO
Catholic Charities USA

Advocacy & Social Policy Initiatives

CCUSA's Advocacy and Social Policy team advocates for policies that uphold human dignity and promote integral human development. Informed by the experience of local Catholic Charities agencies, the team urges policy makers to encounter the needy and vulnerable in their communities and to create policies which assist and support them.

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