GOP Infuriated As Migrants Get Veterans’ Benefits

President Biden is currently facing criticism for providing health care administrative services to undocumented migrants, a move that some argue is exacerbating long wait times for American veterans seeking care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., recently introduced the No VA Resources for Illegal Aliens Act alongside Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., to address this issue. Tuberville argues that the border crisis under Biden’s administration is causing a range of problems for the country, and providing health care to undocumented migrants is one of them.

According to Tuberville, the influx of migrants crossing the border has led to longer wait times for veterans seeking care at VA facilities. He claims that funds that should be allocated to veterans’ health care are instead being directed towards undocumented immigrants.

The partnership between the Financial Service Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA-FSC) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for handling reimbursements for migrant medical care has been established for a while, highlighted in a memo from 2020 during the Trump administration. Typically, when an undocumented immigrant in ICE custody needs health care, they receive treatment on-site.

However, they might be referred to an external private provider for specialized or emergency services. In such instances, ICE utilizes a contract with the VA-FSC to process payments to these healthcare providers. The VA has clarified that it neither directly provides nor finances health care but has an existing interagency agreement with ICE to offer processing services. According to this arrangement, ICE is responsible for all the expenses associated with the claims processing services provided by the VA-FSC and making payments for the claims.

However, the current border crisis, with a significant increase in the number of migrants crossing into the U.S. and requiring medical care, has likely worsened the backlog of medical claims. This backlog has resulted in veterans receiving bills they shouldn’t be getting and delays in payment for community care providers.

Tuberville hopes his bill will receive bipartisan support, especially considering the upcoming election year and the close races of several Democrats seeking reelection. He believes that bipartisan cooperation is crucial, particularly when it comes to supporting veterans.

In addition to addressing the health care issue, Tuberville also criticized the Biden administration for selling border wall materials purchased under the Trump administration instead of using them to deter border crossings. He expressed disappointment in Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and labeled him a “globalist” who doesn’t prioritize border security.

The White House has disputed Tuberville’s claims, stating they are “completely false.”