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Press Release

House Republicans Investigate Effects of Illegal Migrants on National Park Service Lands in NYC

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 15, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
  • OI Subcommittee

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and National Park Service Director Charles Sams, rebuking the Biden administration's proposed plan to house illegal migrants at the Gateway National Recreation Area. In part, the members wrote:

"Recent reports describe how the Floyd Bennett Field at the Jamaica Bay National Recreational Area has been under consideration for several months for use as an area to shelter migrants. The Mayor of New York has reported assisting over 100,000 persons seeking asylum, and the influx in migrants has strained local resources, encouraging the Mayor to call on the Biden Administration to declare a state of emergency.

"Regardless of personal or political beliefs on immigration or migrant policy, there is common ground in keeping our national parks—some of America’s most treasured spaces—out of this debate. All national parks, whether in rural or urban areas, exist for visitors to experience wonder, to recreate and find joy, or to simply learn more about the great history of our nation. National parks are not, however, a place to temporarily or permanently encamp persons experiencing a lack of housing options. The Governor of New York has gone on the record about the DOI’s reluctance to accommodate the request, due to statutory restraints. We agree that the use of NPS lands to house unsheltered migrants is outside of the NPS statutory authority."

Read the full letter here