The Biden administration has awarded an $86 million contract for hotel rooms near the U.S.- Mexico border to house illegal migrants. The overcrowding at the southern border has become so overwhelming that there are no government shelters available for the surge of families crossing over from Mexico. The contract for the rooms is to accommodate about 1,200 migrant family members.
There are few options to handle this completely predictable crisis on the southern border. The Biden administration is busy transforming family detention centers into rapid-processing centers. The goal is to release families within 72 hours from when they were detained. Much of the coverage on the border crisis focuses on unaccompanied minors but there is a huge increase in families crossing the border, too. Earlier this month, ICE filed papers stating that the Biden administration is essentially ending family detentions. These detentions began during the Obama administration. The Trump administration sought to hold families to the limit of the Flores case – up to 20 days. When Biden came into office, ICE operated three family detention facilities – two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. The Texas facilities are being turned into short-term holding centers and the Pennsylvania facility is being closed down. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is on record saying that ICE detention is “not where a family belongs.” Open borders advocates want all family detention centers to close.
So, at a time of an overwhelming crisis, the Biden administration is limiting options, not expanding options in sheltering illegal migrants. The Biden administration will house migrant families in hotels near the border in Texas and Arizona. Endeavors, a Texas-based nonprofit, has a six-month contract that can be extended, if necessary, as well as be expanded. ICE simply cannot keep up with the flood of illegal migrants coming to the southern border. The Trump administration used hotel rooms, too, during a smaller surge in 2019. Trump was able to successfully make agreements with Mexican and Central American officials to curb the need for detention centers in border states.
Hotel rooms are likely a safer option than border patrol stations, but do not have to follow the same safety protocols that official government detention spaces do.
The number of migrant family members caught crossing the southwest border more than doubled between January and February — rising from 7,000 to nearly 19,000, according to the most recently released agency data.
Border officials continue to use a Trump-era order to quickly return many families to Mexico. But Mexico has limited capacity to take in migrant families and won’t accept some with young children, according to administration officials.
42% of families were expelled to Mexico last month — down from 64% in January and 91% in October, according to the data. More than 13,000 family members who crossed the U.S. border illegally have been allowed into the country since the start of January, many released into border communities.
Biden is now dangling the possibility of sending COVID vaccines to Mexico in exchange for that country’s cooperation in handling the number of migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.
The scramble to shelter and process illegal migrants continues for Team Biden. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requested planes to fly them to northern and coastal states on Friday, away from the southern border. Facilities in states like Montana, North Dakota and Michigan, where border patrol has less personnel available and limited capacity present more problems. Also, the migrants will have to be provided with winter clothes.
Border officials requested the air support from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because 1,000 members of families and unaccompanied minors crossed the Rio Grande on Friday morning, and border agents have another 1,000 migrants they have been unable to process since last night, the communications show.
The extraordinary volume of unauthorized border crossings in recent days has left the families and minors waiting hours outdoors, many under a bridge next to the river where CBP is operating a large outdoor processing station. The backups have been exacerbated by the more than 4,500 unaccompanied teenagers and children held in detention cells and border tent sites, a record number.
The email indicates CBP has not yet determined which northern and coastal states could receive the flights.
American taxpayers are footing the bills.
On Thursday, the DHS said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would provide $110 million in funding to nonprofit groups and government agencies to help care for families and children crossing the southern border. The funds will come from $510 million in supplemental funding through the American Rescue Plan Act to “assist organizations in communities across the country dedicated to providing food, shelter and supportive services to people with economic emergencies, including our nation’s hungry and homeless populations,” FEMA said.
It is unconscionable that Joe Biden signed off on dismantling the policies in place at the southern border in order to prove he is the anti-Trump president before his own system was in place. There is a shortage of detention centers and facilities equipped to handle migrant families. Biden told them there would be no consequences for illegal immigration during his administration and those thinking about jumping the line and illegally crossing the border believed him. This surge was completely avoidable and predictable. Secretary Mayorkas continues to blame Trump for the Biden administration’s failures. He did so on Fox News Sunday this morning.