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Press Release

Amid Surging Crime, Committee Probes NPS Illegal Migrant Encampment

  • OI Subcommittee

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) led a letter to National Park Service Director Charles Sams, requesting additional information on the migrant encampments at Floyd Bennett Field in light of the tragic murder of Laken Riley. In part, the members wrote:

"University of Georgia student Laken Riley was recently murdered on campus while jogging and, as described by President Biden, the perpetrator was an illegal immigrant. Laken Riley’s murder was the first murder on the campus in thirty years and sparked a 'palpable' fear and 'shock' in the community. The suspect in her death, Jose Ibarra, was first arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol for entering the United States illegally in September 2022 and, according to the New York Times, 'was released quickly.' According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jose Ibarra was arrested again a year later, in September 2023, by the New York Police Department for 'acting in a manner to injure a child.'...

"The Committee is deeply concerned with the Biden administration’s management of American’s public lands, notably at Floyd Bennett Field, and the inherent safety risks to employees at the park, residents of the surrounding communities, and migrants as a result of the decision to lease national park land for a migrant encampment. Moreover, the Committee is concerned about how the criminality at Floyd Bennett Field is part of the widespread lawlessness permeating from the Biden administration’s contempt for the rule of law at the border to the illegal immigrants who were released and spread throughout America. 

"Indeed, the FBF Lease does contain terms on law enforcement services at Floyd Bennett Field, with the naming of the New York Police Department (NYPD) as the 'primary entity responsible for law enforcement issues inside the perimeter of the [migrant encampment] Premises.' However, it has come to the Committee’s attention that the City of New York has contracted with a private security firm to provide security at the migrant encampment, and, on at least one occasion, the private security firm has impeded NYPD officers attempting to access the camp.  

"As you know, Floyd Bennett Field is located on federal land. It is the Committee’s understanding that tenants of the migrant camp are not subject to a basic background search during the intake process. All tenants, employees of Floyd Bennett Field, and surrounding residents deserve to know if they are living with migrants who have previous arrest records and/or convictions."

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 also 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.

On Jan. 22, 2024, Westerman and Gosar sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing their concern over the policies at Floyd Bennett Field and requesting information on how these decisions were made and what role the DHS played. Despite repeated requests, the administration has failed to produce a single document related to any of this oversight. 

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 NYC and the National Park Service that established the migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field.