Following the latest uproar from Republicans, the Biden presidency decided to abandon plans to dispatch Veterans Affairs medical personnel from throughout the nation to the southern border.
Republicans were concerned veterans would be unable to receive adequate care.
Lawmakers who have authority over the department previously said it considered the possibility of requesting assistance from the VA, as border officers prepare to see up to 18,000 illegal immigrants every day.
Abrupt Change of Plans
During a briefing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday, secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said discussions with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough ended.
This is wrong. We struggle with consistency of care. Veterans deserve to be put first.
Biden admin confirms talks about using Veterans Affairs resources to treat migrants at southern border | Fox News https://t.co/ElEDiwIANO
— Code of Vets ™ (@codeofvets) April 27, 2022
“We will not be submitting that petition to the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Moreover, Mayorkas stated in response to a query from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that the Veterans Affairs Department would not be directing resources to the southern border.
As recently as April 27, Mayorkas noted he discussed the possibility of utilizing VA medical personnel to assist the United States’ border agents.
These agents are seeing more persons crossing the border illegally than at any time in the previous two decades.
At a previous hearing, Mayorkas said he “did not know the solution at the time,” but claimed the plan was no longer a possibility, as of Wednesday morning.
Mayorkas did not explain the abrupt change in plans.
The Letter From 54 House Republicans
Mayorkas received a letter from 54 House Republicans, including Republican caucus Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, on April 13, in which they urged him not to send VA personnel to the border.
As the letter adds, “relocating VA medical professionals away from our veterans’ healthcare requirements to evaluate illegal immigrants is a formula for catastrophe.”
“The average wait period for a veteran to visit their doctor is 22 days, with some veterans having to wait as long as 42 days. The Biden administration’s mismanaged federal government resources is an intolerable example of incompetence.”
Earlier this month, Republicans in the House and Senate presented legislation to prevent the government from repurposing Veteran Affairs’ employees for homeland security activities.
“Redirecting resources away from servicing the needs of our veterans to respond to a foreseen and preventable catastrophe at our southern border is unacceptable,” said Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who proposed the Senate legislation.
US Veteran Affairs mandates COVID-19 vaccine in healthcare workers, borders remain shut as Delta grips country https://t.co/67Bc7YooWg
— Minh Le Cong (@ketaminh) July 26, 2021
During the coronavirus epidemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has dispatched workers to vaccinate federal officers and officials at Immigration and Customs Protection, along with Customs and Immigration.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been infamous for its inefficiency; a shortage of workers is likely to result in American veterans not receiving the care they require in the future.
As such, the proposed plan by the administration is not just shortsighted; it also shows the administration doesn’t care about the vets.