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FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is demanding answers from the Biden administration over its reported plans to fund the transportation of migrants across the country.
American taxpayer money shouldn’t be used to “further exacerbate” the border crisis by facilitating migrant travel in the U.S., Johnson wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a June 22 letter first obtained by Fox News Digital.
Johnson, the top Republican on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, noted a recent NBC News report that the federal government would begin paying for migrants’ travel from the U.S.-Mexico border to various shelters located in Texas, New Mexico and California.
“It appears that a recently leaked DHS plan doubles down on this administration’s efforts to charge taxpayers for illegal aliens’ travel,” he wrote to Mayorkas. “According to this plan, DHS would pay to transport aliens away from the border and deeper into the U.S.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., demands answers from the Biden administration on reports that the administration plans to spend American taxpayer money on transporting migrants across the country. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
“Under DHS’s plan, taxpayers would foot the bill to send aliens to cities such as Los Angeles, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Houston and Dallas, Texas,” Johnson continued. “Taxpayer dollars should be used to secure our border not further exacerbate the Biden border crisis.”
The Wisconsin senator also highlighted a Fox News Digital report from January that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had coordinated migrant travel and accommodations with non-governmental organizations. Johnson’s letter included a list of more than two dozen NGOs the Biden administration has worked with on the border that his staff obtained from DHS in April.
“That enclosed list potentially shows only a fraction of the NGOs DHS and its components utilize,” he wrote.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during an April 2022 House hearing. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Johnson asked whether the DHS provides “any funding, financial support, or reimbursement to any NGOs” for migrant travel. He also asked for a list of organizations that receive such funds and for all records related to the leaked memo highlighted in the NBC News report.
The number of border apprehensions has increased sharply under the Biden administration, according to government data. More than 1.95 million migrants were encountered crossing the border in fiscal year 2021 and about 1.75 million have been encountered in fiscal year 2022 which ends in late September.
By comparison, an average of 751,231 migrants were encountered per year between 2017-2020.
The DHS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thomas Catenacci is a politics writer at Fox News Digital