House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) is calling on the Biden administration to end its practice of resettling migrants on National Park Service (NPS) land. At an oversight hearing on Wednesday, Westerman expressed his concern over the administration’s plan to construct migrant camps on “some of America’s most treasured lands.”
Westerman highlighted the staggering number of migrants that have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022 – over 100,000. He cited the city’s policies as a “sanctuary city” and its “right to shelter” law as factors in transforming the city into a magnet for migration. He also noted that the city is unable to handle the influx and that even Democrat Mayor Eric Adams has warned that the Biden administration’s immigration policies will “destroy the City.”
The Biden administration’s plan to construct housing for migrants in Floyd Bennett Field in the NPS’s Gateway National Recreation Area has drawn the ire of Westerman and other committee members. The city has entered into lease agreements with the NPS to permit the construction of the encampment, which will displace activities such as kayaking and fishing that area residents have long enjoyed.
— House Committee on Natural Resources (@NatResources) September 27, 2023
Westerman has been vocal in his opposition to the plan and has raised concerns about the security of the facilities. He recently appeared on Breitbart News Saturday and advocated for increased border security and the passage of a House Republican spending vehicle to keep the government open.
One of the major points of contention for Westerman and other members of the committee is the administration’s circumvention of environmental regulations to expedite the construction. This is a concession that is rarely afforded to American citizens seeking housing, further inflaming those who oppose the plan.
Westerman also expressed concern over the precedent that could be set if the administration’s policy of constructing migrant camps in national parks is extended to other parks throughout the nation. He warned that “President Biden’s failing border policies are coming to a park near you” and urged the administration to end its practice immediately.
The border crisis continues to escalate, and House Republicans are pushing for increased border security and stricter immigration policies. Westerman’s efforts to bring attention to the administration’s policy of resettling migrants on NPS land and his call for its immediate end are part of the larger push to address the crisis at the border.
The Biden administration has yet to send a representative to discuss the issue with the committee, to Westerman’s disdain. He emphasized that Congress has a duty to conduct oversight and will not tolerate seeing the administration’s “bad policy destroy one of America’s best ideas.” American citizens are keeping a close eye on this issue and are hoping for a resolution that prioritizes the protection of national parks and the well-being of American citizens.