Biden Opposes GOP Bill To Block Migrant Housing On Federal Lands

( – The Biden administration has expressed strong opposition to a House bill aiming to ban the use of government funds for offering short term shelter to illegal immigrants on government lands, sponsored by Republicans.

The legislation, introduced by Republican Nicole Malliotakis of NY, would prevent the allocation of federal money for sheltering noncitizens, including asylum-seeking migrants, on lands managed by agencies such as the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Forest Service.

In a statement, the White House emphasized its disapproval of the bill, citing concerns that it would significantly limit the decision-making authority of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture regarding land use, even in emergency situations. However, the statement fell short of explicitly threatening a veto by President Joe Biden.

The bill, slated for consideration in the House this week, has garnered support from over a dozen House Republicans, including House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican.

Additionally, the bill targets the revocation of a lease between the federal government and New York City for parts of Floyd Bennett Field in Southeast Brooklyn, which Mayor Eric Adams had announced as a shelter for migrants in September. Despite acknowledging less-than-ideal conditions at the site, Adams stressed the need for assistance in managing the migrant crisis.

Concerns within the Biden administration had previously surfaced in September of 2023, questioning New York City’s adequacy in handling the surge of migrants. A DHS team was dispatched to assess the situation, with one senior DHS official revealing a lack of an “exit strategy” within the city to facilitate migrants’ progression out of the shelter system, especially because so many of the migrants did not have any form of ID or did not speak English.

The House bill’s potential impact on the federal government’s ability to respond to emergencies or crises on federal lands further intensifies the debate over immigration policies and the accommodation of asylum-seekers.

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