The House of Representatives Republicans passed a bill that prohibits using government funds to house undocumented immigrants on federally owned lands.
Republican Rep. Nicole Mallitakis introduced the legislation. 224 representatives voted in support of the bill, while 203 voted against it.
The bill was proposed following the Biden administration’s policy of using national park service land to house migrant camps. The House Committee on Natural Resources condemned the policy.
Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York said, “Turning our federal parks into encampments for unvetted migrants from all over the world is unfair to surrounding communities, and the taxpayers being forced to foot the bill while having their public spaces taken away.”
“I’ve joined local and federal colleagues to use every legal and legislative tool at our disposal, from lawsuits to this legislation, to stop the Biden, [New York Gov. Kathy] Hochul and [New York City Mayor Eric] Adams administrations from taking more open space from our citizens,” she added.
“I appreciate the House Committee on Natural Resources coming to New York City to see the grave misuse of federal land firsthand and thank them for quickly taking up my legislation, putting us one step closer to ending this madness once and for all.”
Interestingly, not every Democrat supported the Biden policy. In fact, six voted for Rep. Nicole’s bill, while no Republican voted against it.
The Gateway National Recreation Area in New York said, “Republican members visited this proposed site and saw firsthand that it’s an incredible resource for NYC residents and visitors, providing kayaking, fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities in the middle of an urban area.”
“Turning the Gateway National Recreation Area into a migrant camp would immediately cut off the access NYC residents have enjoyed for years.”
The White House strongly opposes the new bill, but given that the House has already passed it, there could be some challenges moving forward with the budget and other aspects of the bill.
Committee chairman Bruce West Westerman said, “Not only have these failures directly resulted in 6 million illegal crossings since Joe Biden took office, a devastating fentanyl crisis and an increase in terrorism threats, but now the administration is attempting to permanently alter our national parks by permitting the construction of migrant camps on some of America’s most treasured lands.”
“According to this precedent, President Biden’s failing border policies are coming to a park near you.”
“The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 5283, which would prohibit the use of Federal funds to provide temporary shelter to certain noncitizens, including migrants seeking asylum, on Federal lands falling under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Forest Service,” the White House said in a “Statement of Administration Policy.”
“The Administration opposes this legislation because it would significantly restrict the ability of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to make decisions regarding the appropriate uses of their lands and resources, even in emergency or other situations.”
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