Cruz: ‘Unacceptable’ That Biden Administration Plans To Reassign Veteran’s Affairs Staff To Southern Border

Bethany Blankley, The Center Square

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says he still hasn’t received an answer from President Joe Biden on reports that his administration is planning to divert resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help deal with the influx of illegal immigrants at the southern border.

A letter was sent by the senator from Texas to President Obama earlier in March. He said that he had not received a reply.

In his letter, Cruz urged the president “to secure our Southern border and immediately renew Title 42,” a public health authority that’s allowed federal agents to quickly expel illegal immigrants during a public health emergency. On May 23, the Biden administration declared that it would be ending Title 42. Border officials claim that if Title 42 is not halted, approximately 18,000 people will rush to the southern border every day. This would overwhelm Border Patrol agents as well as local law enforcement.

“[T]he Department of Homeland Security has been considering potential strategies for dealing with the anticipated influx of migrants when CBP’s Title 42 authority is revoked,” Cruz said in a statement. “Reportedly, one such strategy, according to a source from within CBP, includes diverting VA medical personnel and deploying them to the border. The CBP source went on to say ‘[w]e’re going to take medical services away from people … [w]ho went to combat … to give free medical attention to illegal migrants.’”

This “is completely unacceptable,” Cruz said.

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Cruz asked Biden to confirm that reports have been made by his administration about how VA employees are diverted from supporting veterans at the border in order to help illegal immigrants.

“Redirecting scarce resources approved by Congress to provide care to our nation’s veterans, especially as our nation is emerging from a pandemic, seems to be callous and a slap in the face to the men and women who put on the uniform to protect our nation,” he wrote.

“At a bare minimum, American veterans’ medical care needs should not suffer due to this misplaced policy choice. I call on you to categorically denounce any policy which would result in diverting resources intended for American veterans to migrants at the Southern border,” he said.

Diverting VA staff away from veterans adds insult to injury to those who’ve served our country, Cruz argues, especially in light of the fact that a recent assessment by the VA identified dozens of veterans’ facilities nationwide that should close and have services diverted to other facilities.

Bonham VA Medical Center, Fannin County is one of the listed facilities. It’s located near the Oklahoma border in northeast Texas. The VA has recommended that Bonham’s outpatient services, Community Living Centers, and the Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program be relocated to VA facilities in Dallas and Tarrant counties. It would close Bonham’s facility if this was to happen. Randy Moore, Fannin County judge, stated that doing so would prove to be problematic.

“This is not just about the county, this is going to impact everybody,” Moore told local Fox News affiliate News12 last month.

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Jeffrey Clapper is the VA North Texas Health Care System Public Affairs Specialist. He stated that the VA report has only been preliminary and must be approved by Congress, the president, and the VA secretary. He said the proposed changes would be “a long-term process with several layers of oversight, veteran input, employee input, and strategic planning that further molds VA health care to the needs, challenges, and community partnerships that can better deliver upon the promises that this nation has made to those who served.”

However, closing the facility would force veterans living in the rural county to travel over 80 miles to receive services because there are “limited community resources in the surrounding rural counties for specialty care and complex care needs,” the VA report states.

“The very idea that your Administration’s VA would close a vital resource for Texas veterans while contemplating diverting VA medical personnel to be deployed at the border is baffling and deeply troubling,” Cruz wrote to Biden.

Cruz stated that one of the VA facilities located in Dallas would serve as a hub for VA medical personnel to be transferred to the southern border.

The administration hasn’t denied the reports and the Department of Homeland Security has not responded to requests for comment.

The Center Square permission granted this syndicated version.