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EXCLUSIVE: Migrants who enter the United States illegally will no longer have access to federally funded legal support under Rep. Lauren Boebert‘s new legislation that she shared exclusively with Fox News.
The Colorado Republican authored the “No Taxpayer-Funded Lawyers for Illegal Aliens Act” with support from other House conservatives and immigration reduction organizations. Boebert said no organization or city that receives federal funds should be spending it on legal aid for people who cross the southern border illegally.
“The principle is really simple: No more American tax dollars to help illegal aliens cut the line and skirt our laws,” Boebert, a freshman lawmaker, told Fox News Digital in an interview.
Boebert’s bill aims to scuttle a new Biden administration effort to provide legal services to migrants entering the immigration system in seven border towns.
The new Legal Access at the Border (LAB) program will not directly provide attorneys but help prepare migrants for the immigration legal process in California, Arizona and Texas, Axios reported in January. The services will help migrants who are attempting to cross the Southern border, those already in Border Patrol custody or enrolled in the newly reinstated Remain in Mexico program, Axios reported.
“Democrats want to treat border detention facilities like an Oprah Winfrey show,” Boebert told Fox News. “You get free education, you get a free plane ticket. You get free medical care. You get free, free, free. It really has to stop and my bill is the first step in this process.”
Beyond President Biden’s new legal aid program, Boebert’s legislation would take aim at private organizations that get federal taxpayer dollars and fund immigrant defense programs, especially the Vera Institute of Justice that secured a $158 million taxpayer-funded contract to help unaccompanied minors avoid deportation, records show.
Her bill would also prevent cities from channeling federal dollars into creating legal aid help for undocumented immigrants. The Vera Institute has already built partnerships with various cities across the country to create a public defender system for immigrants facing deportation. One study found that cities have provided an estimated $5.6 million in taxpayer money for illegal immigrants’ legal defense.
In a statement to Fox News Digital in January, the Vera Institute of Justice said that providing legal representation to immigrants is “widely supported and in line with our most fundamental shared American values.”
It continued: “No one should appear in immigration court without a lawyer, especially when the consequences include possible deportation and separation from one’s family and community. It’s the government’s responsibility to protect the fundamental rights, health, and security of everyone in our communities, including immigrants who are targeted by our expanding federal enforcement system.”
The Biden administration has been rocked by the crisis at the border, which has seen more than 100,000 migrant encounters, and sometimes more than double that, each month. There has been a focus on quickly processing migrants into the interior rather than keeping them in border facilities.
Migrant encounters at the southern border reached 178,840 in December 2021 – drastically higher than the 73,994 encounters the previous December.
Fed-up Republicans have been hounding Biden on the fallout of his border security policies. Just last month, Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, introduced legislation to bar taxpayer money paying for migrant flights into the U.S. interior amid continued outrage about the practice from Republicans.
Hinson’s bill comes in response to footage obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request by former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, which shows migrants being transported on charter flights at night to Westchester, New York.
With Democrats in control of Congress, these GOP-led immigration bills have little hope of passage, but they are a preview of messaging during the upcoming midterm elections where Republicans hope to retake Congress and shame Biden into clamping down on tougher border measures.
Boebert said it’s time to return to “America first,” in a nod to former President Trump’s policy mantra.
“Gone are the days where we allow foreign nationals to break our laws illegally, cross the southern border, and then we the people provide a legal defense at American taxpayers’ expense so they can remain here illegally,” she said.
Other backers of Boebert’s legislation include GOP Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Lance Gooden of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Tom McClintock of California, Bill Posey of Florida, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin and Mary Miller of Illinois.
“Non-profit entities and the Biden Administration brazenly use taxpayer dollars for lawyers for illegal aliens to abuse American laws and courts and avoid the deportation they deserve,” Brooks said in a statement. “This heinous misuse of tax dollars to undermine the rule of law is emblematic of the Biden Administration’s extremely harmful policy of importing as many illegal aliens as they can as quickly as they can.”
Boebert’s bill would make a legal aid exception for minors who have been trafficked. Her bill is endorsed by right-leaning groups NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
Fox News’ Sam Dorman, Adam Shaw, Joe Schoffstall and Kelly Laco contributed to this report.