Sends Letter to VA Secretary Asking For Accounting of Resources Being Used at Border
U.S. SENATE – In a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, U.S. Senator Steve Daines questioned the alarming report that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) resources are being diverted from our nation’s veterans to process the medical claims of illegal immigrants held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Daines asked the VA for a full accounting of its use of resources at the border including how many VA personnel are being utilized, how long the VA policy has been in place and what other services the VA is providing at the southern border.
“Montana has the second highest number of veterans per capita in the country and every day I hear stories about the deteriorating access to quality care provided by the VA. According to data from the VA, at Fort Harrison VA Medical Center – Montana’s largest VA health care facility – wait times can be as long as 123 days for veterans seeking dental care and 70 days for those needing mental health care appointments. Additionally, there are nearly 318,221 backlogged claims nationally—which includes disability compensation and pension claims that have been received by VA that requires development and a decision by a VA claims processor – as of September 2023. This represents a nearly 10 year high. In stark contrast, illegal immigrants in ICE facilities appear to face low barriers to accessing specialty or emergency health care. This disparity is unacceptable and dishonors Montana’s veterans who must deal with long wait times and excessive delays to see health care providers,” the Senator wrote.
“The Biden administration created this humanitarian and national security crisis at the border. And as I have said many times, the crisis can only be fixed by deliberate and targeted policy changes that enforce the rule of law, tighten our asylum standards, rein in the Department of Homeland Security’s parole power, and finish the southern border wall,” the Senator continued.
Read the full letter to Secretary McDonough HERE.
Daines raised this issue at this week’s Senate Republican Leadership press conference. Watch his remarks HERE.
To see more of Daines’ work to protect our Veterans, click HERE.
To see more of Daines’ work to s