Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, a co-chairman of the House Border Security Caucus, is leading that group, which sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Thursday.
The letter lambastes the secretary for alleged “dereliction of duty” for not focusing on DHS’s “intended mission by securing the border and resuming interior enforcement.”
“Given that we had a record-breaking two million illegal crossings in 2021, we are deeply concerned that this initiative is a misuse of taxpayer dollars, a paltry attempt to distract the American people from your failure to secure the border, and a dangerous reorientation of the Department’s real job: protecting against threats to the Homeland,” the Republicans say in their letter.
Other notable members who signed the letter are Reps. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, Chip Roy, R-Texas, and others.
The DHS program they are referring to is the Climate Change Professionals Program, which the department announced earlier this month. The program falls under the DHS Climate Change Action Group, which Mayorkas created last year.
“The Climate Change Professionals Program will be instrumental in helping the Department adapt to our changing climate by providing hands-on experience and guidance to young professionals interested in climate adaptation and resilience,” Mayorkas said of the program. “This program will develop the next generation of climate experts, improve climate literacy throughout the Department, and help us execute our Climate Action Plan to remain mission-resilient while reducing our own impacts on the environment.”
The program will last two years and those who complete it will be eligible for permanent DHS jobs. Its purpose, according to the department, will be to help DHS adapt to climate risks like floods, wildfires, droughts and other extreme weather events.
But the members who signed onto the Babin letter argue it’s bogus to call climate change a “security threat” when “data shows that deaths from natural disasters are at their lowest point in 120 years and that we’ve seen a 92 percent decline in the death toll from natural disasters since its peak in 1920.”
“While we understand the frustration you and the administration must feel knowing that the American people are not buying into your preferred crisis of choice – climate change – we urge you to refocus the work of the Department to its intended mission by securing the border and resuming interior enforcement,” the letter continues. “Doing otherwise is a dereliction of duty, and in direct opposition to the oath of office you swore.”
According to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data provided in the Jan. court 14 filing, there were 178,840 migrant encounters in December, up from 173,620 in November. That in turn was an increase from the 164,753 apprehensions in October.