Did Biden declare an emergency because of his border policies?
Joe Biden has declared an emergency and called the fire department over a bit of smoke in New York City. The smoke? It results from a proverbial fire he started on our southern border.
Much like the plumes of smoke from western U.S. and Canadian forest fires that hit the jet streams in the summer and irritated East Coasters, drifting migrants from more than 160 countries have shown up in NYC neighborhoods, seemingly out of nowhere. Just as diluted smoke is a reminder of the conditions at a faraway inferno, 100,000 migrants flocking to the Big (Sanctuary) Apple is a fraction of the 6 million illegal crossings on the southern border.
After being sworn in as president, Biden immediately went on a 100-day executive order binge to burn down any semblance of a secure southern border, including stopping the border wall and selling off the construction materials. As if that weren’t bad enough, he put the nail in the coffin in August 2022 by ending the remain-in-Mexico policy and again in May 2023 by reinstating the Obama-era catch-and-release program.
Illicit drugs are pouring across the border, killing an alarming 300 Americans daily and poisoning many more. One hundred fifty people on the terrorist watch list have been apprehended at the southern border. Nearly 40 percent of the catch-and-release migrants have disappeared. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have crossed our border amid rampant human and sex trafficking.
None of that was enough to get the administration’s attention. Not until New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul raised the alarm about the burdens unprecedented waves of migrants are putting on the city’s ability to meet the requirements of its own sanctuary city program.
As hotel after hotel filled up with migrants, the mayor found that he had no room and insufficient funds to keep going, so he and Hochul sought relief. To smooth over the problem without addressing the actual cause, Biden consented to an emergency declared by the governor to help New Yorkers clean up a fire that his own administration started. In other words, the arsonists are reporting the fire.
To ease the strain on NYC, which needs more space to build migrant shelters in an area where space comes at a premium, Biden turned to his friends at the National Park Service, who manage a modest amount of outdoor space in the city that gives families and individuals a place to breathe fresh air and experience a hint of nature. That’s precisely why the Gateway National Recreation Area was created, and, as the website advertises, “Gateway offers green spaces and beaches alongside historic structures and cultural landscapes. Every day, Gateway is open for you to explore, envision, and enjoy!”
Floyd Bennett Field, America’s first municipal airport, served as a naval aviation station in World War II and was created as a unit of Gateway National Recreation Area in the 1970s. It hosts 1 million people a year seeking an outdoor experience. It provides playgrounds, a recreation area, a hanger converted to a hockey rink, an ecology village, natural areas, grasslands restoration, camping areas, picnic areas, fishing access, kayaking, archery, cycling, walking and running trails, and a host of other offerings. But to Biden, they see is a large open space where migrant shelters could be hastily constructed.
However, Congress intentionally made it very difficult for National Park Service lands to be used for any purpose other than that stated in the mission of the National Park Service: “to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”
The only way National Park Service land can be used for a different purpose is for the federal government to declare an emergency. That happened when Hurricane Sandy hit New York, and Floyd Bennett Field was used under an emergency national disaster order as a staging area and location for the distribution of emergency supplies.
This time, under the radar, the administration tried to pull a fast one and declare an emergency to sign a lease with New York City to build migrant shelters to house thousands at Floyd Bennet Field. Not only has Biden waived the mission of the National Park Service, he’s also waived environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, to expedite construction.
But New Yorkers were watching, and now Congress is watching in this unprecedented move to use National Park Service land for migrant shelters.
That’s why Democratic and Republican lawmakers have filed a rare joint lawsuit in New York to stop these actions and why the House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing to get to the bottom of the administration’s schemes.
Remember: Where there is smoke, there is fire. Joe Biden set the fire.
Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Arkansas, is chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.