Democratic members of Congress are asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. attorney general to investigate whether arrests of migrants violate constitutional rights. Over two dozen Democratic members have joined together to investigate “legal problems that have arisen out of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative to arrest and jail migrants on state criminal charges” reports Austin’s local CBS station.
Specifically, the 26 Democrats sent a letter asking the federal bureaus to investigate Abbott’s “catch and jail” immigration policy. The representatives claim the policy violates the U.S. Constitution because of violations of state law and logistical problems that have resulted from the thousands of arrests.
Among the signees was U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and 19 other U.S. Congressional Democrats, as well as local Texas Democratic leaders.
Since July, Abbott has directed Texas state police to arrest migrants suspected of having crossed the border illegally on state criminal charges in response to a rise in border crossings. Almost all of the arrests have been for allegedly trespassing on private property in Val Verde and Kinney counties. After the arrests began, local judicial systems quickly became overwhelmed and fell behind state deadlines while hundreds of migrants remained imprisoned, sometimes for weeks without even being appointed an attorney.
In the letter, the Democratic members wrote “these operations have continued to militarize Texas’ border communities and interfered with the federal immigration system, likely violating the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.”
“Even more egregiously, these programs have directly led to a violation of state laws and constitutional due process rights” the letter continued.
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IG Audit shows nonprofit wasted $17 million taxpayer dollars on hotels to not house illegal foreign nationals
An audit report by the Inspector General shows enraging information as to exactly how millions of dollars from the American people were completely wasted.
One doesn’t need to read past the IG report’s headline to become furious: “ICE Spent Funds on Unused Beds, Missed COVID-19 Protocols and Detention Standards while Housing Migrant Families in Hotels.”
In summary, an unbelievable $17 million was wasted on not housing illegal foreign nationals. At the heart of the story is Endeavors, a nonprofit which has received half a billion dollars in taxpayer money “through no-bid government contracts to house foreign nationals who illegally entered the U.S. and were released by the Biden administration instead of being deported” reports The Center Square.
The audit evaluated the process used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to grant no bid contracts to Endeavors and their compliance with federal law, the article explains.
The report evaluated an $86.9 million sole source contract first awarded to Endeavors earlier this year. The contract was awarded for six months to provide “temporary shelter and processing services for families who have not been expelled and are therefore placed in immigration proceedings for their removal from the United States,” The Center Square previously reported.
Months after it received its first no bid contract, Endeavors received a second $530 million contract and hired former Biden administration official Andrew Lorenzen-Straight as its senior director for migrant services and federal affairs, Axios reported.
The Center Square explains:
Sole source contracts are used when an agency can demonstrate the contract meets specific and justified criteria. If contracts don’t meet one of the criteria, they must be awarded through an open competitive process.
Endeavors has no professional history of providing housing services and has never provided beds or all-inclusive emergency family residential services, OIG auditors found. Those critical of DHS’ contract process argue the agency should be awarding contracts through an open competitive process to ensure that those bidding for funds can offer the services they claim they can provide.
Under the contract in question, for six months between March and September 2021, Endeavors was responsible for providing 1,239 beds and other necessary services in hotels. It used six hotels and repurposed them as Emergency Family Reception Sites to accommodate families staying less than three days while ICE considered conditions of release, including alternatives to detention.
The IOG made four recommendations for ICE to improve its contracting and oversight of hotel facility management and operations. “ICE concurred with one recommendation and didn’t concur with three. Based on information ICE provided in its response, the IOG said it considered one recommendation resolved and closed, and three recommendations administratively closed.”
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