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Press Release

House Passes Legislation Preventing Biden Administration from Housing Migrants in National Parks

  • OI Subcommittee

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5283, the Protecting our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023.

"Earlier this year, I led a group of my colleagues to New York City after we heard the alarming news that the Department of Interior had begun housing migrants in the Gateway Recreation Area in Brooklyn. We were shocked to learn this was not only happening without any oversight, but was also being expedited by Biden administration officials in an attempt to cover for his disaster at our southern border. Against the wishes of communities and local elected officials, the Biden administration constructed shelters on the limited green space New Yorkers have to enjoy. This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent for this policy to spread to more of America's most cherished natural sites. Rep. Malliotakis's bill is a crucial step in preventing Biden's border crisis from coming to a national park near you. I would like to thank her for her leadership on this issue and for drafting this important legislation to protect America's best idea and prevent President Biden from placing the burden of his disastrous policies on the National Park Service and American families." House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

"Turning our federal parks into encampments for unvetted migrants from all over the world is unfair to surrounding communities and the taxpayers who are being forced to foot the bill while our Mayor bankrupts our city and slashes services from our citizens. This crisis is unsustainable and unsafe and we're using every legal and legislative tool at our disposal, including the bipartisan passage of my legislation today, to stop the Biden, Hochul and Adams Administrations from taking more public spaces and cutting more services that are meant for our citizens. I urge Senator Schumer and the Senate to pass this bill and H.R. 2 as swiftly as possible so we can put an end to this crisis once and for all." - U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)


Since President Joe Biden took office, there has been a 268 percent increase in monthly unlawful encounters at the border, resulting in millions of illegal crossings along the southern border of the United States. Illegal immigration has well-documented negative consequences across the country, including on our federal lands and national parks. 

The result of the massive surge of illegal migrants causes environmental degradation and destruction of federal lands along the southern border. Illegal immigration also impacts our federal lands and national parks through illegal marijuana grow operations causing significant health, security and environmental issues for both employees and visitors, as well as the surrounding communities.

Now, the Biden administration is seeking to further damage our national parks by building "temporary" migrant shelters at Floyd Bennett Field, in the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City (NYC). The full committee recently held a hearing to hear directly from local officials, address this concern and condemn this action by the Biden administration. Westerman and other Republican members traveled to the site and saw firsthand how access to this incredible resource is being denied to NYC residents by turning it into a migrant encampment.

The legislation which passed today is an important step in ensuring these actions by the Biden administration do not set a precedent for housing migrants on national parks across the country. It will prevent federal agencies from housing migrants on national parks, forests, and other federal lands operated by federal land management agencies. The legislation prevents the use of funds for housing migrants and revokes a lease between the City of New York and the National Park Service, which is currently being utilized to house migrants on NPS land at Floyd Bennett Field in NYC.

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