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Press Release

Committee Continues Investigating Biden Administration Migrant Encampment on National Park Service Property

  • OI Subcommittee

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a letter to Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez regarding the process of selecting Floyd Bennett Field within the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area, to be used as a makeshift camp to house migrants. In part, the members wrote:

"Despite the Biden administration taking the extraordinary step of establishing a migrant encampment at the National Park Service’s Floyd Bennett Field site, the migrant crisis in New York City has continued unabated. The ongoing crisis led Mayor Adams to state that 'we cannot continue to do the Federal government’s job' as New York City buckles under President Biden’s failed immigration policies. Meanwhile, to help New York City stay afloat, Mayor Adams issued an executive order requiring bus companies to provide advance notice of migrant arrivals. Additionally, earlier this year, a surging 'migrant crime wave' led Mayor Eric Adams to call for increased law enforcement help from Federal authorities. 

"Through all of this, you have remained in 'regular contact' with local officials, serving as the intermediary between the White House and officials from New York City and New York State to develop policy responses to the migrant crisis in New York. Your 'regular contact' with local officials includes frequent conversations with Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to Mayor Eric Adams, regarding 'all the issues that are facing New York City' stemming from the migrant crisis. Your work on the migrant crisis—and the close relationship you established with New York officials from work on the migrant crisis—resulted in you joining a member of Governor Hochul’s staff and Democratic donors in a VIP suite for an NFL playoff game in Buffalo on January 21, 2024."


After signing a lease with the City of New York (NYC), the Biden administration established a migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field, in the Gateway National Recreation Area in 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 in September 2023 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 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, expressing concern over the policies at Floyd Bennett Field, requesting information on how the administration’s decisions to convert the National Park Service property into a migrant encampment were made and seeking to better understand what role DHS played in the process. To date, DHS has failed to respond to repeated requests for information.  

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 public lands managed by federal land management agencies, and prevents the use of funds for housing illegal immigrants on any land under the jurisdiction of federal land management agencies. It also revokes the lease between NYC and the National Park Service that established the migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field.

To read the full letter, click here.