Rep. Chip Roy ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter Asks Lawmakers to Block Funding for DHS Until Border Security Demands Met

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
August 10, 2023Border Security
Rep. Chip Roy ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter Asks Lawmakers to Block Funding for DHS Until Border Security Demands Met
​​House Rules Committee member Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 3, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) is calling on his fellow Republicans to block funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until President Joe Biden’s administration meets a range of border security demands.

On Tuesday, Mr. Roy began circulating a letter (pdf) to fellow lawmakers, raising concerns about how illegal border crossings and cross-border trafficking are impacting his home state and calling for Republicans to force the Biden administration to adopt new border security policies.

“Criminal cartels maintain operational control of the border. Migrants are dying on Texas ranches and along the Rio Grande. Little children are enslaved in the sex-trafficking trade,” Mr. Roy wrote. ” . . .Fences are being cut, livestock are escaping, ranchers are threatened, and high-speed chases are tearing through small towns. Perhaps most deadly, dangerous fentanyl is pouring into our communities via an open border – empowering China and cartels while killing 200 Americans per day.”

Mr. Roy credited his fellow House Republicans with passing H.R. 2, the “Secure the Border Act,” which restarts border wall construction, places limits on the U.S. asylum system and expedites the removal process for illegal immigrants. While calling H.R. 2 “the strongest border security bill to ever pass Congress,” he said. “This amounts to nothing more than political theater if we are unwilling to use the strongest tool granted to us by the founders—the power of the purse—to force the change necessary to protect Texas and secure the border.”

Rather than passing a full-year appropriations bill for the DHS, the Texas Republican said the Republican-controlled House should hold up such funding “until the necessary steps are taken to secure the border. Among his proposed list of border security measures, Mr. Roy said lawmakers could hold out for H.R. 2 or a similarly strong border security bill to become law. The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate has yet to take up H.R. 2 since it passed along party lines in the Republican-controlled House in May.

Other terms Mr. Roy proposed in exchange for funding the DHS included adopting policies that give law enforcement agencies or the military more tools for targeting drug cartels or removing DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas from office.

Mr. Roy also floated federal reimbursement to Texas and other border states for the money they’ve spent on border-security efforts. Mr. Roy’s home state of Texas, under Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, has spent about $10 billion on an effort known as Operation Lonestar. Operation Lone Star has included the deployment of police and National Guard troops and temporary razor wire and marine barriers to block illegal border crossings. Other Republican governors have sent their own state police and National Guard troops to Texas to assist in Operation Lone Star.

“Simply put, no member of Congress should agree to fund a federal agency at war with his state and people. We have a moral obligation to protect our states, our nation, and, importantly, the migrant children getting abused from the disaster transpiring at our southern border,” Mr. Roy concluded his letter. “No border security, no funding.”

The letter to his Republican colleagues is one tangible example of his follow-through after Mr. Roy proposed the idea of withholding federal funds to both the DHS and the Department of Justice during a Sunday interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream.

“I can tell you right now, for all my colleagues, I will not vote for a continuing resolution or any funding for DHS or DOJ if we don’t get changes to both,” Mr. Roy said on Sunday. “I want the border secure. I want DOJ restored to following the rule of law.”

NTD News reached out to Mr. Roy’s office for more information about who received his letter. His office did not respond by the time this article was published.

The plan to hold up funding for the DHS could add a layer of complexity as House Republicans prepare for next year’s budgets. The Republican-controlled House started their summer recess a day early last month, amid inter-party negotiations over appropriations. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who, like Mr. Roy, is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told NTD News that their wing of the Republican Party is seeking to cut funding throughout government.

Democrats have expressed their own concerns about immigration and border security, albeit focusing on making it easier for people without legal status to remain in the U.S. without relying as much on assistance from their states.

Last week, Democratic elected officials in New York, also called on President Biden to declare a national emergency in order to grant work authorizations for non-citizens who otherwise lack legal status to be in the U.S., so they can work and find housing without risking deportation. The New York Democrats also asked the Biden administration to devise a system for sheltering these people in cities and towns throughout, rather than allowing them to continue straining the New York City shelter system.

Democratic Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey declared her own state emergency on Tuesday as Massachusetts’ shelter system has taken on thousands of non-citizens seeking assistance. Ms. Healey called for the Biden administration to grant work authorization and called for bipartisan support in Congress “to address outdated and punitive immigration laws.”