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Press Release

Amid Investigation into Migrant Camp, Committee Members Demand Answers From Sec. Mayorkas and DHS

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2024 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
  • OI Subcommittee

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as part of their ongoing investigation into the migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field. To date, the administration has not complied with the committee's oversight on this issue. In part, the members wrote:

"The disastrous impact of President Biden’s immigration policies on communities across America is perhaps best exemplified by the migrant crisis in New York City. From the spring of 2022 through December 2023, New York City received over 160,000 migrants, with roughly 70,000 currently remaining in New York City’s care. According to local news reports and elected officials, the overwhelming influx of migrants has pushed New York City to a breaking point. As a result, for nearly a year, the Mayor of New York City, Democrat Eric Adams, and the Governor of New York State, Democrat Kathy Hochul, have pleaded with the Biden administration for federal help. In fact, as early as May 9, 2023, Gov. Hochul declared a state of emergency in the State of New York due to the border crisis and its impact on the state. For example, Mayor Adams asked the Biden administration to declare a state of emergency regarding the migrant crisis.

"The Committee is deeply concerned with the Biden administration leasing NPS land for use as a migrant encampment, a use that is not only inconsistent with the National Park Service Organic Act (P.L. 64-235), but publicly recognized as legally perilous by DOI. Moreover, the Committee is concerned with the role DHS played in the leasing process, particularly as you described it in the letters to Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul and as described to Committee staff by DOI and NPS officials."

Read the full letter here.


The Biden administration has erected migrant shelters at Floyd Bennett Field, in the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City (NYC). The full House Committee on Natural Resources recently held a hearing to hear directly from local officials, address their concerns and condemn the unprecedented action by the Biden administration to use national park land for a migrant encampment. Westerman and other Republican members traveled to the site last September and saw firsthand how access to this incredible resource is being denied to NYC residents by turning it into a migrant encampment.

Recently, Floyd Bennett Field was evacuated due to hazardous weather conditions, and migrants were moved to a local high school. The next morning morning, in-person classes for students were cancelled as migrants camped out in the school. Concerns about hazardous conditions were raised weeks before by members during the committee hearing, and were blatantly ignored by administration officials.

On Nov. 30, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5283 on Nov. 30, 2023, which would ensure these actions by the Biden administration do not set a precedent for housing migrants in national parks across the country. The legislation prevents federal agencies from housing migrants in national parks, forests and other federal lands operated by federal land management agencies. The legislation also prevents the use of funds for housing illegal immigrants on any land under the jurisdiction of the federal land management agencies and revokes a lease between the City of New York and the National Park Service (NPS), which is currently being utilized to house migrants on NPS land at Floyd Bennett Field in NYC.