President Joe Biden said the press will have “full access” to the migrant facilities near the southern border but couldn’t provide an answer for when that would happen.
At his first formal press conference as commander-in-chief Thursday afternoon, Biden was asked by Kristen Welker of NBC News when journalists will be let into the facilities. Reports of these facilities have described cramped conditions and poor accommodations for migrants—especially unaccompanied children—that have trekked to the U.S.-Mexico border during the massive surge in crossings since January.
“Given the conditions that were just laid out at the migrant facilities at the U.S. border, will you commit to allowing journalists to have access to the facilities that are overcrowded, moving forward?” Welker asked.
“I will commit when my plan—very shortly—is underway to let you have access to not just me, but to other facilities as well,” the president said.
MORE ON THE BORDER: Migrants tell Sara Carter about their harrowing journey to the border
“How soon will journalists be able to have access to the facilities?” Welker pressed him. “We’ve obviously been allowed to be inside one, but we haven’t seen the facilities in which children are packed together to really give the American people a chance to see that. Will you commit to transparency on this issue?”
“I will commit to transparency, and as soon as I am in a position to be able to implement what we are doing right now,” Biden replied, then going on to explain that one of the reasons he has yet to visit the facilities himself is because he doesn’t “want to become the issue” due to his large Secret Service team following him.
“You will have full access to everything once we get this thing moving,” he added.
This didn’t satisfy Welker, who had moderated the final debate between him and then-President Donald Trump and was generally praised for keeping the pair in relatively line.
“Just to be clear,” she pressed, “how soon will that be, Mr. President?”
“I don’t know, to be clear,” Biden replied.
MORE ON THE BORDER: ‘Not today’: Kamala Harris laughs when asked if she plans to visit the border
On Wednesday, journalists were given limited access to a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, as The New York Post noted. However, the Biden administration has not allowed the press into more overcrowded Border Patrol camps.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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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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