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Biden's reported 'Remain-in-Texas' migrant policy comes under fire as Republicans take action

Originally Published by Fox News on September 13, 2023

FIRST ON FOX: A member of the House Homeland Security Committee is moving to block funding for any policy that seeks to keep migrants in Texas after reports that the Biden administration is considering such a move as it faces pressure over migrant flows into cities like New York City.

Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, is introducing an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill to make sure no funding is made available to "administer, implement or enforce a ‘Remain-in-Texas’ policy."

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering a policy to force some illegal immigrant family units to remain in Texas by tracking them with GPS monitoring devices, including ankle bracelets.

The Times reported that the families would be put through an asylum process to determine if they could stay, and if not, they could be more easily deported due to their proximity to the border. The program would be an expansion of the Family Expedited Removal Program, which imposes curfews and monitors family units that have traveled to large cities.

In response to the eport, a DHS spokesperson said that the administration "is committed to expanding safe and orderly pathways for migrants to lawfully enter the United States, while imposing consequences to those who fail to use those pathways." 

"Since May 2023, DHS has removed or returned over 200,000 individuals, including over 17,000 individual family unit members," they said. "DHS continuously holds policy and operational discussions on how to leverage our authorities to ensure a fair, humane, and effective immigration process that efficiently removes those without a lawful basis to stay in the country."

But the report has brought accusations that it is coming for political purposes due to pressure from Democratic jurisdictions including Massachusetts and New York, who are facing a surge of migrants into their areas and have been intensely critical of the government’s handling of the crisis.

"It's not a coincidence that the Biden Administration began considering a 'Remain-in-Texas' policy the same week that New York City Mayor Eric Adams openly criticized the chaos at our border and stated that the migrant crisis 'will destroy New York City,'" Pfluger said in a statement. 

Pfluger also noted that some of the areas that have been hit by migrant surges — and have seen buses of migrants sent from Texas — are "sanctuary" jurisdictions that block or limit cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"Liberal sanctuary cities like New York that openly obstruct federal immigration laws and have policies in place to shield criminals from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should not be immune to the crisis at our border," he said. "Biden's Remain-in-Texas policy must remain in the trash can. I will fight any efforts by this administration to force Texans to bear the brunt of their immigration crisis."

The amendment is one of a slew of amendments introduced by House Republicans as they have sought to use the appropriations process to increase enforcement and boost border security.

Other amendments include moves to defund sanctuary cities, provide more information on migrant transports and increase ICE detention beds. Meanwhile, lawmakers also introduced an amendment to reduce DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ salary to just $1.