FEMA said Thursday it will give $110 million to organizations providing food and shelter to migrants encountered at the southern U.S. border by the Department of Homeland Security, even as the Biden administration refutes characterizing the border situation as a crisis.
The $110 million will be distributed to nonprofits and other organizations through the National Board for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. That money is part of $510 million available to the Emergency Food and Shelter Program under the recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki used the phrase “crisis on the border” during the briefing on Thursday — a notable choice of words after the administration has avoided describing the situation that way.
A security guard at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center checks in vehicles carrying basketball hoops Thursday, March 18, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
She later seemed to walk it back when reporters asked if her phrasing was indicative of a change in how the White House viewed the situation. She reverted back to using the phrase “challenges at the border” and maintained there is no change in administration messaging.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday described the border situation as “difficult,” but, just as the White House has, refrained from calling it a crisis.
“The situation at the southwest border is difficult,” Mayorkas said. “We are working around the clock to manage it and we will continue to do so. That is our job. We are making progress and we are executing on our plan. It will take time and we will not waver in our commitment to succeed.”
Republicans have laid blame on Biden for the surge after he rolled back a number of Trump-era immigration restrictions he deemed inhumane, including ending the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy and reinstating “catch-and-release.” Biden’s immigration agenda includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Morgan Phillips and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.