Biden admin funnels $1 billion for climate programs at borders amid ongoing migrant crisis

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The Biden administration is funneling $1 billion in taxpayer funds to America’s northern and southern borders to make dozens of federal ports of entry more climate friendly.

The General Services Administration (GSA) announced it would direct Inflation Reduction Act funds to support the climate initiatives at the border, even as the ongoing surge of migrants strains federal resources. While GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan and Andrew Mayock, President Biden’s Federal Buy Clean Task Force co-chair, said the action would reduce “harmful emissions,” the move was slammed by Republicans and experts.

“As usual, the Biden administration is refusing to address a problem of their own making,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., told Fox News Digital. “Instead, they’re touting a billion-dollar investment in green technology at the border while Biden’s border crisis continues to wreak havoc on local communities and federal lands. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.”

“Time and time again, the House Committee on Natural Resources has spotlighted these issues and recently held a field hearing in one of the hardest-hit areas of southern Arizona, yet this administration refuses to address the crisis they’ve created,” he continued. 

DEM STATES, CITIES OVERRUN BY MIGRANTS FUNNELED MILLIONS IN FEDERAL COVID-19 AID TO SUPPORT ILLEGALS

The Biden administration is devoting $1 billion in federal funding for green energy at the U.S. border. (iStock, Getty Images)

The top Republican lawmaker has repeatedly called attention to both the border crisis and environmental degradation indirectly wrought by migrants poring over the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“Spending a billion dollars to build a so-called ‘environmentally friendly’ port of entry feels like a slap in the face to Americans watching our open border policies trash our beautiful public lands day in and day out,” said Westerman.

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According to the GSA, the funding will support reduced overall operational emissions of federal activities at the border, development of 23 all-electric buildings, projects ensuring four land ports of entry achieve net-zero emissions, and modernization and paving projects involving embodied carbon avoidance. 

For example, $200 million will be used to renovate the Bridge of the Americas port in El Paso, Texas, installing solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and other energy efficiency installations. Another $135 million will be used to make the Douglas Commercial port in Cochise County, Arizona, all-electric, and $100 million will be used to make Arizona’s San Luis land port the first net-zero port of entry.

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) with US flags behind him

House Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., speaks at a press conference on March 28, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars spent on southern border ports in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, GSA is also earmarking millions of dollars more for decarbonization projects along the U.S.-Canada border in Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Maine.

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“The Biden Administration has made it abundantly clear that it will take no effective action to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the United States, only attempt to process faster the intake of inadmissible aliens,” NumbersUSA CEO James Massa told Fox News Digital. 

“The long-term effects of the administration’s clear aim of adding as many people to the U.S. population by circumventing immigration restrictions put in place by Congress means that our nation’s carbon footprint will increase markedly, which is at odds with President Biden’s stated goal,” he added.

Texas police cleaning up trash at border crossing in Del Rio

Texas officers clean up trash at a border crossing site near the Rio Grande River on May 17, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Massa highlighted that, while the administration seeks to implement “sustainable technologies” at the border, the migrant crisis simultaneously strains the “limited local resources such as water, destroys sensitive environmental sanctuaries for birds and other species, reduces farmland, and creates unsustainable dynamics that weakens the conservation of the nation’s natural resources.”

“In addition to endangering those millions of people by encouraging them to travel at the hands of cartels, these journeys across Central America to the U.S. southern border are devastating to croplands and wildlife habitat along the way,” Massa told Fox News Digital.

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Meanwhile, in January, the federal government reported more than 156,000 migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border, a slight year-over-year uptick, but a decrease compared to the month prior. In December, more than 302,000 migrants were encountered crossing the border, by far the largest single-month figure ever recorded.

The December figures brought the fiscal 2024 first-quarter level to 785,000 encounters, the highest number ever recorded.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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