Rogers: Dems putting illegal aliens ahead of U.S. service members, vets
Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, took to the chamber floor on Friday to push back against H.R. 3525, which requires the Department of Homeland Security to establish an expensive electronic health record system for all illegal aliens within its custody within 90 days.
During his speech, Rogers said that similar healthcare efforts still needed for American veterans and active duty service members would be given relatively low priority compared to the Democrats’ proposal focused on illegal aliens.
“The bill before us today requires the Department of Homeland Security to set up an interoperable electronic health record system to track the medical history of millions of illegal immigrants,” Rogers said.
He raised issues with not only the prioritization given under the legislation but logistics, too.
“The bill requires the system to be up and running in 90 days,” Rogers outlined. “Implementing an electronic health record system is a complicated, labor-intensive undertaking. … If you need a real-world example of just how unachievable this is, look no further than the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard spent seven years trying to get an interoperable electronic health system in place for its 50,000 servicemembers. But after all that time, the system didn’t work. Coast Guard service members are still forced to rely on paper medical records. … The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration won’t have fully interoperable EHR systems in place for another five and nine years respectively.”
“The research mandated by this bill is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services,” he added. “DHS research is properly focused on preventing drugs, criminals and terrorists from entering our country. We should not force DHS to lose its focus on these critical homeland security priorities.”
Rogers advised that it would cost “over $2.5 billion to track the medical history of the illegal immigrants that entered our country just since fiscal year 2017.”
“In other words, without any funding provided for the mandates in this bill, billions in critical DHS funds used to counter terrorist plots, equip first responders, and respond to natural disasters would have to be diverted away to benefit millions of illegal immigrants,” he emphasized.
The east Alabama congressman lamented that Democrats are politicizing national security issues, saying, “We should be working together on legislation that reforms our broken immigration system, protects vulnerable families and children from human smugglers, reduces the asylum backlog, and expands migrant processing and long-term housing.”
He urged Democrats to “finally choose policy over politics and agree to work with Republicans on solutions to our border security problems.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn