Amid Ongoing Investigation, Committee Leaders Demand Answers from Mayorkas for Floyd Bennett Field Fiasco
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2024 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) sent a follow-up letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as part of the committee's ongoing investigation into the migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field. To date, the Biden administration has not complied with the committee's oversight on this issue. In part, the members wrote:
"Your silence and lack of response to the Committee Letter suggest that DHS is deliberately engaging in obstruction to frustrate the oversight power of Congress and this Committee's obligation to ensure the effective management of America's public lands and better understand the role DHS played in the Biden administration's unprecedented decision to use national park land for migrant housing. This is unacceptable. The American public deserves transparency, the Committee will use every tool at its disposal, including compulsory powers, to administer effective oversight and fulfill the Committee's responsibility to the American people."
Read the full letter here.
The Biden administration has established a migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field, in the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City (NYC). The House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing late last year 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. 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 January 22, 2024, Westerman and Gosar sent a letter to Mayorkasexpressing their concern over the policies at Floyd Bennett Field and requesting information on how these decisions were made and what role the Department of Homeland Security played. To date, the administration has not responded to any of these oversight requests.
On Nov. 30, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5283, which would ensure the Biden administration’s egregious policies don’t set a dangerous precedent. 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 the lease between the City of New York and the National Park Service that established the migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field.
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