The Biden administration has spent nearly eight months stonewalling a congressional investigation into its relocation and vetting of nearly 3,000 illegal immigrant children to New York.
Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R., N.Y.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, accused the administration of stymieing congressional attempts to obtain information about a series of 2021 flights that carried unaccompanied immigrant children from the southern border to communities in New York.
"Almost eight months have passed since my initial letter, and six months since my second letter, and I have yet to receive a response from your administration," Garbarino wrote in a letter sent Friday to the White House and Department of Homeland Security, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "Now, additional acts of crime and violence are surfacing, and I remain troubled by the potential security and health risks that these undocumented migrants pose to my constituents."
Garbarino and other Republicans in Congress who oversee DHS suspect that the administration did not properly perform security screening and medical tests on these undocumented children before introducing them into U.S. communities, some of which have since experienced a spike in crime attributed to these illegal immigrants. The Biden administration tried to keep these flights secret, but media reports late last year exposed the effort, sparking congressional ire and a spate of investigations. Nearly a year later, it has become clear that the relocation of these minors poses a security risk, including increased recruitment by the MS-13 gang.
"The tactics you've used to transport migrants in the dead of night and your failure to provide state and local leaders with sufficient security or demographic data and resources has left Long Island communities to suffer the consequences of your misguided immigration policies," Garbarino wrote.
The lawmaker is asking the Biden administration to brief Congress on its relocation effort and hand over information "about who these people are, what their security vetting and COVID-19 screening status is, and how local resources will be impacted." Garbarino also wants details about "what you intend to do moving forward in light of these growing concerns about public safety and security in my district and in communities across the United States."
The Biden administration's "weak policies have directly resulted in an increased threat of crime and gang violence on Long Island," Garbarino wrote.
Last week, five teenagers living at the MercyFirst children's center in Syosset, N.Y., one of the locations to which illegal immigrants were sent, conducted a series of burglaries at seven small businesses that resulted in "thousands of dollars of damage as a result of the actions of unsupervised minors," according to Garbarino.
The burglaries came several months after a violent brawl broke out at MercyFirst, leaving one law enforcement officer with a broken hand and another with concussion.
These incidents have reignited concerns over the lack of security screening implemented by the administration when it decided to relocate the immigrant children.
"Ongoing media reports highlighting crime and violence surrounding the MercyFirst shelter brings to the forefront the question of whether if unaccompanied migrants relocated there by your administration have played a role in creating or exasperating the problem," Garbarino wrote.
Minors who are dumped into U.S. communities are susceptible to recruitment from violent gangs, such as MS-13, that prey on vulnerable children. The administration's refusal to provide Congress and state officials with information about these undocumented minors makes it more likely they will fall victim to gangs, Garbarino says.
"If we don't have a clear picture of who these children are and when they are being brought to New York, we can't safeguard them or our community from that eventuality," Garbarino wrote. "MS-13 is a scourge in my district and will continue to exploit the cracks in our nation's immigration system and corrupt vulnerable minors unless changes are made."