FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., on Tuesday introduced a bill to prohibit discretionary federal funds from going to states that provide state assistance to illegal immigrants — warning that those states are encouraging the ongoing migrant crisis at the border.
“I feel very strongly that tax dollars that hard-working Americans pay should never go to illegal immigrants, but some states are gaming the system,” Carter told Fox News in an interview.
The bill would prohibit federal funds from going to a state if the agency head determines that the state has programs in place where money goes to those who are in the country illegally. While such people are barred from receiving federal funds, Carter says that liberal states are working around that.
“They’re getting these funds from federal agencies that are discretionary funds that can be used in a number of different places and they are using those to replace state tax dollars that are being used for the illegal immigrants — so it’s a shell game,” he said.
The bill has 10 co-signers so far including Reps. Brian Babin, R-Texas; Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.; Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn., and comes as Republicans are increasingly sounding the alarm on the potential costs of illegal immigration and a renewed crisis at the southern border.
More than 178,000 migrants were encountered in April, including significant numbers of migrant families and unaccompanied children. Lawmakers have expressed concern about the costs to the taxpayer, and the lack of information about how many migrants are being sent to their states.
While the Biden administration has blamed root causes like violence and poverty in Central America for the migrant surge, Republicans have said that a rollback of Trump-era immigration policy and incentives like states including illegal immigrants in public assistance programs have encouraged the source.
Carter said the bill was emphasized by the ongoing crisis, and said his constituents in Georgia have made it a top priority for him.
“They expressed that concern and they demanded action, they are tired of it, we’re all tired of seeing what’s going on at that border and we’re tired of this administration ignoring it,” he said.
He pointed to state programs in places like New York — which will offer one-time payments of up to $15,600 to illegal immigrants who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
“These state programs are a draw for illegal immigrants,” Carter said. “They know about it, they heard about it and this is one of the reasons they are trying to get over here , so they can get some of this money.”
The bill is one of a number of efforts by House Republicans to solve the crisis at the southern border. Last week, Rep. Ashley Hinton, R-Iowa., introduced a bill that would bar federal funds from being used for Vice President Kamala Harris’ travel until she visits the border.