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The White House announced its strong opposition to a Republican-led bill in the House that aims to prevent the use of federal funds for providing temporary shelter to undocumented immigrants on federal lands.
This proposed legislation, initiated by Representative Nicole Malliotakis of New York, seeks to ban federal spending on shelters for noncitizens, including asylum seekers, on lands managed by agencies like the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
In a statement, the White House criticized the bill, saying, “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 bill, which has garnered support from over a dozen House Republicans, including GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, is set for consideration by the House this week. One specific clause in the bill aims to revoke a lease agreement between the federal government and New York City for parts of Floyd Bennett Field, a site recently designated for housing migrants.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams highlighted this arrangement as a response to the influx of over 113,000 asylum-seekers since spring 2022. Visiting the site, Adams acknowledged the suboptimal conditions but emphasized the city’s crisis management efforts, stating in a video, “We’re managing a crisis, and we can’t say it any better that we need help.”
This comes after internal concerns within the Biden administration were raised in September over New York City’s handling of the migrant surge. A Department of Homeland Security team sent to assess the situation reported a lack of an exit strategy for migrants to transition out of the shelter system, according to a senior DHS official.