WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to reports, a Republican senator is insisting on an explanation from the Biden Administration after it became known that it had authorized the spending of nearly $90 million on housing over 1,200 migrant families in hotel rooms adjacent to the U.S. southern border, as well as questioning the motives of the nonprofit organization in charge of doling those funds out.
On Tuesday, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) took the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to task after it was revealed that ICE had been awarded a contract from the Biden Administration – through Endeavors, a Texas-based not-for-profit – to the tune of $86.9 million, which has been used to set up the families of migrants in hotels, as well as covering the costs of their deportation processing services.
Blackburn wrote a letter to ICE acting Director Tae Johnson and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in which she questioned previous financial disclosures on the part of Endeavors – who, according to their website, describe themselves as “helping vulnerable people in need” – as well as how the $86.9 million in funds granted to them this time will be utilized.
For example, Blackburn noted that Endeavors has raised contributions and grants in 2018 in the amount of over $38 million, but tax returns filed with the IRS for that year indicate that approximately half of that $38 million went to paying the organization’s salaries.
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“This raises questions if half of the $86.9 million in ICE contract proceeds will likewise be allocated toward employee and executive compensation instead of migrant services or housing,” Blackburn said in her letter. “As the current contract stands, the cost to taxpayers for housing 1,200 migrant families for six months is about $71,000 per person. For a family of four, that amounts to a shocking $284,000 — enough to buy a small house.”
Blackburn is demanding an exact breakdown of the services and uses that the $86.9 million will serve – including a list of the actual hotels being used for housing the migrants, with room rates – as well as a copy of the original contract, free of redaction. She also questioned the safety of the migrant children and if they may be left unsupervised or solely in the presence of an Endeavors employee.
“DHS and ICE must provide commitments to assure Congress and the American public that Endeavors is up for the task of securely and efficiently housing illegal immigrants without resulting in waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars, or worse, harming vulnerable migrant children,” Blackburn said in her letter.
The number of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border in recent months has surged dramatically, with February alone seeing nearly 100,000 people detained after illegally entering the country; currently, the situation is considered a full-on crisis that experts say will only get worse.