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Rep. Williams, Carter Say No to Housing Illegal Immigrants at Ft. Hood

Mar 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fort Hood Representatives Roger Williams (TX-25) and John Carter (TX-31) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Norris Cochran, urging them not to house illegal immigrants on Ft. Hood and reminding them of the language they secured in the FY17 NDAA that prevents this action without House and Senate certification. You can find the full letter at the bottom of the release.

“Our military installations are not to be used as public housing for illegal immigrants. The overwhelming amount of migrants crossing the southern border is a direct result of President Biden’s failed policies, undoing years of progress under President Trump,” said Congressman Williams. “I’m proud to continue working alongside Judge Carter to protect Fort Hood from being used to house Unaccompanied Children (UAC). Together we secured a provision in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to prevent agency requests to house UAC on military bases and we will ensure that this law is upheld by the Biden Administration. As we continue to make progress on defeating COVID-19, bringing more migrants into our communities without proper heath procedures is irresponsible and a direct threat to the health and safety of Central Texans. The crisis at the border is an unsustainable problem that the current administration has failed to address in any meaningful way.”

“The Biden Administration has amplified a crisis along the southern border with their weak border security policies, and as a result, are looking to house illegal immigrants on America’s military bases,” Representative Carter said. “This isn’t the first time an administration has looked to use our military installations as temporary housing for those illegally crossing into the United States and that’s why we included language to prevent it in the FY17 NDAA. Representative Williams and I will ensure that this law is upheld by President Biden and his administration. Military installations are not a safe or appropriate location to house unaccompanied children or illegal adult immigrants. In addition, we are in an ongoing public health crisis, and bringing unknown individuals around our service members and their families is irresponsible and puts them at risk. The Biden Administration’s handling of this crisis is completely reckless, and I urge them to instead secure the border and focus their efforts on deporting these individuals back to their home countries, instead of turning our military installations into housing facilities for them.”

Hon. Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
 
Norris Cochran
Acting Secretary of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201 
 
We write to register our strong opposition to any plans by the Department of Defense (DOD) or Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to utilize  military installations to house illegal immigrants as a result of the ongoing border crisis.  Our military bases must be used as intended, to train and prepare our troops to defend the homeland, not house illegal aliens. 
 
As the representatives for Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the United States, we ask you to reaffirm that our military installations exist to project power around the world and to serve our men and women in uniform and their families — not house illegal immigrants.  Fort Hood has already suffered two shootings, including one terrorist attack. This military base is clearly a target and our country cannot afford to further burden it with the duties of running a safe house.  Additionally, the presence of illegal immigrants at The Great Place as the COVID pandemic continues could endanger the health of servicemembers and their families as well as impair the ability to train and rapidly deploy our military to respond quickly to a crisis. Surrounding communities would also feel the detrimental effects of this shortsighted decision without any input. 
 
Sadly, this is not the first time we have addressed this troubling issue.  In 2016, we secured language in the National Defense Authorization Act to prohibit the Secretary of Defense from signing a memorandum of agreement with another Federal agency to provide a vacant facility for purposes of temporary housing support unless the Secretary first submits to the Committees on Armed Services of the House of Representatives and Senate a certification that the provision of the facility will not negatively affect military training, operations, readiness, or other military requirements, including National Guard and Reserve readiness. To date, no such certification has been made to the aforementioned committees of jurisdiction.
 
We respectfully request your immediate attention and quick response to this matter, and to suspend any actions currently underway to enact policies that would be in clear violation of current law.  We recognize the ongoing crisis on the Southwestern border and would like to work with you to expeditiously resolve the issue.  However, our military installations simply cannot be used in this manner, and our work will continue to ensure that no resources are directed away from the training and readiness of our armed forces.
 
Respectfully,
 
Roger Williams                                                                                   John Carter
Member of Congress                                                                          Member of Congress

 

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Congressman Roger Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas and serves as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services and as Vice-Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee.