Republicans condemn Biden admin for “deeply troubling” the possibility that VA Docs could go to the border for the expected surge
More than 50 House Republicans are pushing for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Wednesday that it could use Veterans Affairs (VA) medical personnel to prevent potential immigration border surges.
The letter comes a month before the May 23 deadline for Title 42 policy – the Trump-era public health order that allows the expulsion of most immigrants entering the U.S. because of COVID-19.
They will end the order after President Biden announced it earlier this month, raising fears of a possible surge in migrants on the southern border. TOU reported shortly before Biden’s announcement that the CBP was considering helping VA employees care for migrants.
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“On March 29, 2022, a report by the CBP suggested that the abolition of this power was imminent. An increase in border crossings was imminent. That could result in more than 540,000 encounters a month, “the GOP letter said. Jodi Hayes, led by R-Ga., Said. “Currently, the CBP does not have the facilities or manpower to handle the expected massive surge.”
The letter, addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas, said any consideration of moving VA medical personnel across the border would be “very troubling”.
“Moving VA medical staff away from the healthcare of our veterans to investigate illegal immigrants is a disaster response,” the letter said. “Waiting time for a veteran to see his doctor can reach an average of 22 days and 42 days. This is an unacceptable mismanagement of federal government resources by the Biden administration.”
GOP Conference Chair Alice Stefanik, RN.Y. And Reps. 53 other House Republicans, including Kat Cammack, R-Fla., Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz, joined Hayes on the letter.
According to a CBP source who has been working with law enforcement for 20 years and is familiar with the process, using VA staff to help with medical care and COVID-19 shots for migrants cannot be ruled out yet.
With the full response of the government to control the increase at the border, it does not seem to be off the table, the source said. The source added that such an arrangement would probably be part of a “voluntary force” that would help federal agencies respond to the surge.
A CBP spokesman told TOU on Wednesday that he had no evidence that such conversations were taking place but could not be ruled out.
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“Complete government response” may be a reflection of a very comprehensive strategy outlined in a. March 30 press release From the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the CBP. Titled “Preparations for a potential increase in migration,” DHS said in a statement that it was “ready to increase personnel and resources along the southwest border.”
“DHS has moved officers, agents and DHS volunteer personnel to quickly decompress points at the border and to process migrants more efficiently,” DHS said in a press release.
It does not specifically mention VA, which is not part of DHS. The press release also said it would implement “COVID mitigation measures”, including handing over PPE. But it does not mention the possibility of helping VA employees again.
“Biden’s failed open border policies are no excuse for diverting resources from our veterans. Our men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our independence and the sovereignty of our country deserve the best resources for their health care needs.” Said. Separate statement from GOP letter. “The Biden administration must answer to the American people. The idea of abandoning the care of our veterans for the needs of illegal aliens is also a shame.”