President Joe Biden’s “Put Americans Last” policy is on full display at the chemical spill disaster in Ohio.
Fearing for their lives, local residents of the small town of East Palestine, Ohio, have been forced to evacuate their homes, their eyes burning, their skin mottled with rashes, their drinking water suspect — yet the Federal Emergency Management Agency refused to help for two weeks. What a contrast to the immediate help FEMA provides when buses of illegal immigrants roll into Washington, D.C., or New York.
To assist illegals, charity workers funded by FEMA literally meet the buses and begin distributing food, hotel rooms, rental assistance, legal counsel and health care — the very things that the East Palestine victims also need. And the omnibus spending bill Biden signed in December gives FEMA a whopping $800 million expressly to pay for migrants’ needs as they arrive in U.S. cities from the southern border.
Yet Biden is giving the people of this Ohio town — working-class, taxpaying citizens who are 98% white — the cold shoulder. Under Biden, FEMA apparently stands for First Embrace Migrants and Aliens. FEMA is the welcome wagon for illegals.
On Feb. 17, 14 days after the Norfolk Southern train derailed in this small Ohio town, spewing burning vinyl chloride into the air and water, the White House tried to produce a reason why FEMA was a no-show. “FEMA is on the frontlines when there is a hurricane or tornado. This situation is different.” That is a lame lie.
Under the Stafford Act of 1988, FEMA is empowered to respond to human-made disasters, such as fires and explosions, as well as natural disasters. FEMA was envisioned to help people like East Palestine residents Audrey DeSanzo and her two school-age children.
After the train accident on Feb. 3, Gov. Mike DeWine told families to evacuate immediately or face “grave danger of death.”
The DeSanzos fled to a relative’s empty apartment in Pennsylvania, where they slept on the floor and on a couch.
On Feb. 9, officials gave the clear for residents to return, but DeSanzo says her children quickly developed sore throats and coughs. A local doctor said many patients had these problems and advised calling poison control.
DeSanzo would like to get out of East Palestine, but she makes only $14 an hour. “Where am I supposed to go?” she asked. FEMA is footing the bill for migrants to stay in hotels, but not the DeSanzos.
Norfolk Southern is sending each family $1,000. That doesn’t cover medical bills, housing, meals and lost wages during an evacuation. Small business owners wonder how they will recover from shutting down and losing inventory ruined by chemical odors.
With a disaster declaration, these costs could be covered by FEMA. But the Biden administration has withheld it.
Meanwhile, FEMA’s website urges illegals to apply for disaster relief, supplying an Undocumented Immigrants Disaster Assistance Flyer in a staggering 18 languages — but heartland Americans can take a hike.
The White House claimed on Friday that it’s “mobiliz(ing) a robust, multi-agency effort” for the Ohioans, including help from the Department of Health and Human Services.
HHS says it will open a clinic Tuesday in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Health. It’s too little too late. Since Feb. 4, residents have complained of burning eyes and gums, rashes and shortness of breath. Vinyl chloride is a carcinogen known to cause liver cancer and possibly brain and lung cancers, lymphoma and leukemia.
Yet Ohioans have been left to fend for themselves.
Meanwhile, HHS has been busy coddling illegals. HHS recently approved a waiver for Washington State to offer illegals free health insurance for the sake of “equity.” And HHS is flying unaccompanied illegal minors from the border to their new homes under the cover of night.
Where’s the concern for helping Ohio children being subjected to dangerous toxins?
The people of East Palestine will tell you the odor of burning vinyl chloride is suffocating, but worse is the stench of Biden’s disdain for regular Americans.
American resources should be going to help Americans first.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.