May 30, 2022, 4:35pm, By Bernadette Hogan
Upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik, the powerful GOP House Conference Chair, has vowed to subpoena the Department of Homeland Security for information aboutsecret flightsof migrants into New York state if Republicansregain control of Congressfollowing this fall’s midterm elections.
“We need to get all data, all information from the Department of Homeland Security, from any federal agency involved in this smuggling operation, this human trafficking operation paid for by the taxpayers in the dark of night,” Stefanik told The Post in an exclusive interview.
The Post exclusively revealed last fall that charter flights originating in Texas were landing at Westchester County Airport – usually in the early hours of the morning – to help the federal government offset acrushof migrants at the US-Mexico border.
The flights were briefly suspended after The Post’s initial exposé, but had resumedby last month.
“We’ve gotten little to no response from all of our outreach to [Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas,” Stefanik said. “This is going to be in an oversight capacity. In a Republican majority, you can demand and subpoena those records. We intend to do that.”
After the migrants land in Westchester, they are put on buses and dispersed across the tri-state area. One source told The Post in October that ultimate migrant destinations included locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, upstate Newburgh, and Bridgeport and Danbury in Connecticut.
In April, one busload of teenagers tracked by The Post drove the length of the New Jersey Turnpike before letting off its passengers at the Walt Whitman Service Area in Cherry Hill, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. After the teens disembarked, they retrieved their bags and left with adults who had been waiting for them.
Similar flights have been reported byofficials in Florida,Pennsylvania,andTennessee.
In addition to the migrant flights, Stefanik also wants to subpoena Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration for records tied to disgraced ex-Gov.Andrew Cuomo’s coverup of nursing home deathsfrom COVID-19 as a result of his pandemic policies.
“I want to go back to the very beginning,” she said, starting from when the infamous “March 25th order” was implemented requiring nursing homes to admit “medically stable” COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals.
Independent expertsestimateat least1,000 more deathsoccurred in long-term care facilities thanks to the order. More than 15,000 residents died from the deadly virus — either inside long-term care facilities or after being transferred to hospitals because they were so ill, New York State Department of Health data shows.
“I want to know how much Kathy Hochul knew — because she definitely knew. She was a sitting lieutenant governor, she had access to that data on a daily basis,” Stefanik charged.
Hochul recently announced her administration is hiring independent experts to conduct areviewof New York’s COVID-19 response, including a probe into how the state’s policies impacted those innursing homes.
Stefanik told The Post she’ll also be subpoenaing the Biden administration for additional information regardingHunter Biden’s laptop.
Her priority list also includes:
- Subpoenaing records tied to the horrific2018 limo crashin Schoharie County that claimed the lives of 20 New Yorkers
- Subpoenaing documents related to thefiringof an upstate pre-K teacher due to her views on COVID-19 masking
- Protecting the rights of dairy farmers and students’ ability to choose what type of milk they want to drink in schools – a nod toward herongoing fightwith NYC Mayor Eric Adams and his opposition to keeping chocolate milk in city public schools
- Making sure “federal dollars only go to states that have pro-law enforcement, pro-safety policies.”
- Crafting legislation to help curb drug overdoses and the illegal flow offentanylinto the United States
Experts say the GOP is favored to win back the House this November after four years in the minority, meaning Stefanik could assume the role of majority whip if the House Republican hierarchy remains the same.
But recent reports indicate Stefanik could also be in line for an even bigger role: former President Donald Trump’srunning matein 2024, should he decide to run.
Stefanik is a known favorite of Trump, who is hosting hisfourth fundraiserfor her next month at his swank Westchester golf course and has evenfloated heras his 2028 presidential pick.
“People know that I’m there to work for them and serving as conference chair only increases my ability to get things done,” she told The Post. “I mean, as you become a more senior member of Congress, you know how to work the process.
“I always focus on delivering results.”
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