ICE reportedly wasted $17m on ‘hotel space and services’ that ‘went largely unused’

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was reprimanded by the Inspector General this week for questionably awarding a sole source contract intended to house migrants to the tune of $86.9 million with the $17 million allocated specifically to hotel space and services having gone “largely unused”

In anticipation of a surge of migrant border crossings in early 2021, ICE entered into the pricy contract with a non-profit, faith-based organization called Endeavors to”provide 1,239 beds and other necessary services in hotels” in Arizona and Texas.

“ICE did not adequately justify the need for the sole source contract to house migrant families and spent approximately $17 million for hotel space and services at six hotels that went largely unused between April and June 2021,” the April 12 report noted. “ICE’s sole source contract with Endeavors resulted in millions of dollars spent on unused hotel space.”

Raising even more eyebrows, the contract was awarded after Endeavors “provided an unsolicited proposal” instead of using the regular competitive procurement process.

The report indicates that ICE “cited ‘unusual and compelling urgency’ as the basis for an exception to the competitive contracting process” due to them being the “only known source capable of meeting the requirements to provide 1,239 hotel beds and all-inclusive emergency family residential services to support the surge of asylum seekers.”

“Based on our analysis of ICE’s justification for sole sourcing the contract to Endeavors, we determined ICE did not have supporting documentation to establish that Endeavors was the only contractor that could provide the services needed,” the inspector general report states. “ICE records showed that Endeavors had no experience providing the services covered by the sole source contract, including hotel beds or all-inclusive emergency family residential services.”

Of the $17 million earmarked for hotels and related services, $16.98 million was spent on”unused beds at the hotels between April and June 2021.”

“For example, usage ranged from an average of 21 percent at one hotel in El Paso to an average of 45 percent at one hotel in Phoenix,” the report cited.

Endeavors also cut corners by not testing for Covid-19 before transporting the migrants in their care and were blasted for having several “deficient” testing practices.

“For example, families were not tested by ICE for COVID-19 prior to being transported to hotels and were not always tested by Endeavors staff upon arrival at or departure from hotels, putting migrant families and the outside population at risk of contracting COVID-19,” the report said.

Social media users were outraged at the high cost to do nothing and reflected on how the money could have been spent to protect America’s southern border from illegal immigrants.

One person claimed it wasn’t a waste if the millions were spent “helping immigrants” although it’s unclear how empty beds helped migrants.


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