A bill that would prevent federal funds from being used to house illegal immigrants on federal lands passed the House of Representatives on Thursday – although it is unlikely that the Senate will take up the legislation.
The bill, The Protecting Our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023, was introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., and passed 224–203. One member voted “present.”
The bill aims to stop federal funds from being used to pay for migrant encampments in federal parks and to cancel the lease at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, a controversial makeshift tent city that can house 2,000 migrants.
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“Turning our federal parks into encampments for unvetted migrants from all over the world is unfair to surrounding communities and the taxpayers being forced to foot the bill while having their public spaces taken away,” Malliotakis said in a statement.
“I’ve joined local and federal colleagues to use every legal and legislative tool at our disposal, from lawsuits to this legislation, to stop the Biden, Hochul and Adams Administrations from taking more open space from our citizens.”
After the bill passed, Malliotakis called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to pass the legislation in the Senate.
“It’s time for @SenSchumer to pass this & our Border Security Act to end this crisis bankrupting his own city!” she wrote.
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It comes as major cities like New York City struggle to cope with an influx of illegal migrants. The cost to house illegal immigrants in New York City is expected to cost the taxpayer around $12 billion, and the city has already slashed its budget to pay for the crisis.
It is estimated that nearly 10 million people have entered the U.S. illegally under the Biden administration.
The bill, H.R.5283, would specifically prohibit federal funding from being used to provide housing for illegal immigrants on any land under the jurisdiction of the Federal Land Management agencies, including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service.
Both Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth and Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field are included under this description, along with any other park in the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Before the vote, the White House came out in opposition to Malliotakis’s bill.
The Office of Management and Budget said in a statement that the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 5283.
“The Administration opposes this legislation because it would significantly restrict the ability of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to make decisions regarding the appropriate uses of their lands and resources, even in emergency or other situations,” the statement reads.
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