The Biden administration will be housing illegal immigrants at hotels. The cost to taxpayers for ICE’s contract is estimated to be a cool $86 million.
As Axios reported on Saturday, the six-month contract is awarded to Endeavors, a Texas-based nonprofit organization. The contract to hold up to 1,200 migrant family members could be expanded and extended.
ICE is “already transforming its family detention facilities into rapid-processing centers with the goal of releasing families within 72 hours,” the reported added. Nonetheless, the hotels are acting as overflow facilities as the border continues to be overwhelmed by illegal immigrants seeking to come to the United States.
While the Biden administration is still advocating strong public caution about the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotels lack the safety precautions that detention facilities do.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday said that 10% of migrants at the Midland & Carrizo Springs facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. This news comes after “more than 100 illegal immigrants released by the Border Patrol into Texas since late January have tested positive for the coronavirus following their arrival,” officials told Fox News in early March. The White House denies the report is accurate.
The hotels will reportedly be as close to the border as feasible to facilitate immigration processing, such as in Texas and Arizona. However, the Biden administration has recently weighed flying some illegal migrants to the Canadian border.
According to Axios, less than half of the migrant families are being deported a figure that is, down 91% in October. A public health order issued by the Trump administration facilitated deportation for migrants whose COVID status was uncertain.
The choice of hotels to foster migrant families streaming across the border has been a controversial one in the past, although there are a few significant differences between the Biden and Trump administration policies.
Biden has reversed Trump’s order to halt Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and House Democrats recently passed legislation for “Dreamers” to obtain a pathway to citizenship. Meanwhile, Biden is giving mixed messages to prospective migrants, telling them not “don’t come.”
EXCLUSIVE: @GStephanopoulos presses Pres. Biden on the border crisis.
"Do you have to say quite clearly, 'Don't come'?
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 16, 2021
Biden was called out by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday for sending mixed messages to prospective illegal immigrants. He argued that a “security” and “health crisis” was brewing on the southern border because of Biden policies.
“Democrats claim this overall influx is not because of their new administration,” the minority leader said. “Well, that would be news to the migrants themselves. Some of these people have told reporters it was the Democrats’ rhetoric that led them to come.”
“Some have shown up wearing T-shirts with the Biden campaign’s logo on them,” he added.
“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,” Axios reported.
In addition, there has been a surge of unaccompanied minors being detained by ICE, a practice that was derided under the Trump administration as putting “kids in cages.” The number of migrant children in U.S. custody has passed 15,000, CBS News reported on Saturday.
“Records reviewed by the network showed that the government has about 15,500 unaccompanied migrant minors in U.S. custod,” the Hill reported. “Over 5,000 unaccompanied minors are currently held in a tent holding facility run by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other stations along the U.S.-Mexico Border as of Saturday morning.”
While Biden’s White House has taken some heat from unlikely sources, such as CNN, over the practice of holding thousands of unaccompanied minors, the administration differs from the Trump administration in a significant regard. It is seeking to bring the unaccompanied minors into the United States instead of sending them back to Mexico or in their countries of origin.
The Trump administration was not only blasted for holding “kids in cages,” despite the detention facilities being built under the Obama administration, even housing illegal migrants in hotels temporarily before they could be expelled was considered by the left-wing press to be a barbaric practice.
“The Trump administration has been using major hotel chains to detain children and families taken into custody at the border, creating a largely unregulated shadow system of detention and swift expulsions without the safeguards that are intended to protect the most vulnerable migrants,” the New York Times reported initially in August 2020.
“Government data obtained by The New York Times, along with court documents, show that hotel detentions overseen by a private security company have ballooned in recent months under an aggressive border closure policy related to the coronavirus pandemic,” the report added.
“More than 100,000 migrants, including children and families, have been summarily expelled from the country under the measure,” the Times added.
There is a notable lack of media concern for COVID-19 spread by Biden’s lax immigration policies, now that Trump’s protections are being rolled back. Such deafening silence highlights that the press’s alarmism about COVID-19 spread has been largely contrived.
While the press is pushing illegal immigration, it is largely ignoring the dangers it poses to public health, including those stemming from COVID variants. It is yet another sign the left-wing activist press cannot be trusted to care about the concerns of American citizens.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.