Republicans in the House of Representatives, led by Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, are calling attention to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policies related to baby formula distribution at migrant detention centers in the southern U.S.
CBP provides formula to infants as part of longstanding immigration policy. However, amidst a national shortage spurred on by recalls at a major plant and protectionist trade policy, Republicans are questioning federal allocation of resources.
“It’s our understanding that there are stockpiles of infant formula at CBP detention facilities along the southern border as required by federal law,” the seven Republicans write in a letter, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller, to CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus. (RELATED: Mayorkas Responds To Claims That Migrants Are Getting ‘Pallets’ Of Baby Formula)
However, they note, federal law does not require purchases to be recorded in the Federal Procurement Data System unless the government spends more than $10,000. Therefore, “the American public cannot obtain data about the current and legally-required stockpile of infant formula at the southern border.”
Read the letter here:
“Joe Biden is the Commander-in-Crisis Chief, and everything he touches fails our nation and its people. While Biden’s been actively aiding and abetting the border crisis, he’s been asleep at the wheel for the baby formula crisis. As parents across our nation continue to scour shelves for infant formula, illegal migrants at our border have free access to an abundance of legally-required essentials — including infant formula. The letter I’m leading to the CBP calls for transparency, clarity and additional details about the agency’s procurement, contracting, and distribution process that pertains to providing infant formula to illegal immigrants,” Donalds told the Daily Caller.
The Republicans note that the Biden administration has moved to end the public health expulsion measure Title 42, and expect that to lead to increased levels of illegal migration. Several federal judges have temporarily blocked the administration from doing so.
Many economists have pointed to federal procurement policies for worsening the formula shortage. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) portion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program maintains contracts with only three formula producers, and four producers control 90% of the national market. Abbott Nutrition, the company whose plant was temporarily shuttered in February, controls nearly 50% of the U.S. formula market by itself.
At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits formula imports from many countries, even those that have similar regulation policies as the U.S. In at least one instance, the FDA seized and destroyed more than $700 in formula produced in Europe, since the brands have not been approved for American use.