Today, Congressman Doug LaMalfa voted for H.R. 5283, the Protecting our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023. H.R. 5283 would prohibit federal funds from being used to provide housing to illegal immigrants on any land under the jurisdiction of any of the four federal land management agencies. It would also revoke the lease agreement finalized Sept. 15, 2023, by the National Park Service with New York City, which authorized establishment of temporary housing for illegal immigrants within the Gateway National Recreation Area.
“Our National Parks should be for all to treasure, recreate, and be outdoors – they’re not a place to house people who came here illegally,” said LaMalfa. “Republicans and Democrats agree that President Biden’s border policies created this crisis, and our nation cannot and will not financially support the influx of illegal immigrants. It is a slap in the face to every taxpayer to waste our tax dollars on housing and feeding illegal immigrants, especially when it takes over part of our national parks. They must be swiftly expelled.”
On Sept. 15, 2023, against strong public outcry from local residents, the Biden administration signed a lease with New York City to house at least 2,000 illegal immigrants at Floyd Bennet Field in the Gateway National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park System. This public park, which once hosted bike races, youth day camps and skating rinks, has now been turned into a tent city with questionable security. Democrat and Republican locally elected officials and the U.S. Park Police have all publicly testified that the encampments, which are in the middle of a floodplain, will endanger those staying there and degrade park resources.
Failed Democrat policies at the federal and state level have turned our national parks into makeshift shelters for illegal immigrants. The mission of the National Park Service is to conserve scenery “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations,” not house illegal immigrants. H.R. 5283 would prohibit any federal funding, including new leases or contracts, from building illegal immigrant housing on lands owned by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. The bill also revokes the Biden administration’s disastrous lease to build migrant shelters on National Park Service land in New York City.
Since President Biden took office, there have been more than 6.4 million illegal crossings of the southern border of the United States. Many of these illegal immigrants travel to self-identified “sanctuary cities” across the country, including New York City.
More than 136,000 migrants have arrived in NYC since the spring of 2022. NYC has an additional layer of complexity, as they have a “right to shelter” law, which requires all persons, regardless of their legal status, to be provided with a shelter and food, paid for by the city. NYC Mayor Eric Adams made national news by stating that the Biden administration’s current immigration policies will “destroy the city”.