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Biden admin confirms talks about using Veterans Affairs resources to treat migrants at southern bord

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed that his department is in talks to divert Veterans Affairs (VA) resources, doctors and nurses to help care for illegal immigrants Wednesday.

Mayorkas made the statement during testimony before the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, pressed Mayorkas to answer whether the resources would be diverted as part of the DHS plan to address an expected spike in migration.

"We've heard that the administration is considering removing health care providers from the VA, for example, doctors and nurses whose taxpayer dollars and their intent is to help care for our veterans," Hinson began. "So my question to you today is yes or no: Is the Department of Homeland Security planning to reallocate resources, doctors and nurses from our VA system intended to care for our veterans to help care for illegal immigrants at our southern border?"

Mayorkas first attempted to skirt around the question.

"Let me be clear, because an interagency effort is precisely what the challenge of migration requires – and it's not specific to 2022, 2021, 2020 or any of the years preceding," he said, before Hinson cut him off.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (House Appropriations Committee)

"I'm just asking you a yes or no question," she pressed. "Are you planning on taking resources away from our veterans to help deal with the surge at our southern border? That's a yes or no question."

"Congresswoman, the resources that the medical personnel from the Veterans Administration would allocate to this effort is under the judgment of the secretary of Veterans Affairs, who prioritizes the interests of veterans above all others for very noble and correct," Mayorkas responded.

Hinson then pressed him once again on whether he was aware of any conversations he or others at the DHS have had about reallocating VA resources.

"I have not personally. But of course, our teams, our personnel have. And I'd be very pleased to follow up with you," he responded.

Republicans in the Senate have already taken action in an attempt to block the Biden administration from using any VA resources to address the border crisis.

A group of senators introduced a bill Tuesday that would "prohibit the use by the Department of Veterans Affairs of funds to provide emergency assistance at the southern border of the United States resulting from the repeal of certain public health orders, and for other purposes.

Republicans in the House took a similar action earlier in April.

The Biden administration has been preparing for a spike in migration that would come after it terminates Title 42, a Trump-era COVID-19 measure that allows for immediate deportation of most asylum seekers.

A federal judge in Louisiana blocked the administration from ending the policy on Tuesday, however. The judge said the policy must remain in place until the administration can negotiate a satisfactory plan with border states on how to deal with subsequent border surge.

Fox News' Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

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