Remember when President Joe Biden put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of tackling our immigration problem? We do, too. Remember when absolutely nothing happened, the immigration crisis intensified, and the only time we saw Harris was with child actors talking about space? We do, too.
What we have no recollection of, is Harris having any involvement with border policies; apparently, neither does Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. When questioned during Tuesday’s border hearing, the Secretary admitted Harris has not been “directly” involved in key policy decisions in her almost eight months since being deemed Biden’s head honcho to tackle “root causes” of illegal immigration.
In a back-and-forth with Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mayorkas could not cover for Harris’ inaction. The New York Post transcribed the uncomfortable interaction:
“Do you report to her?” Hawley asked Mayorkas.
“Senator, I report to the vice president and the president, and your question misstates the facts,” the DHS secretary responded. “The president did not appoint the vice president to be the border czar. He asked her to lead the effort in addressing the root causes of irregular migration. Those are two very different things.”
“Ah, I see,” Hawley answered. “So is she working closely with you on that important endeavor? How often do you meet with her?”
“I am certainly in close touch with the vice president,” Mayorkas said.
“How often do you meet on this subject?” Hawley pressed.
“I’ve met with the vice president more than a handful of times,” answered Mayorkas, who was confirmed as DHS secretary in February.
” More than a handful? Well, so what’s that, six or seven times in the last year? ” Hawley said.
“Well, no, first of all, I have not been in office for a year, senator,” said Mayorkas before repeating that he was in “close touch” with Harris.
When Hawley asked Mayorkas if the vice president had traveled to the border with him, the DHS chief recalled a late June visit by Harris to El Paso, Texas. The vice president received criticism for the trip from Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who pointed out at the time that Harris was going nowhere near the epicenter of the ongoing crisis.
“And has she been part of your policies, your decision to end the ‘Remain in Mexico‘ policy, to end the public charge rule, to change the ICE guidance, has she been part of those decisions?” asked Hawley.
“I have not consulted with the vice president directly about those policies,” Mayorkas admitted.
“So what is she doing, exactly?” the Missourian asked. “You said she’s not the border czar. That’s not her role. We’re wrong about that. She’s not doing anything like that. She’s doing something very different, is what your testimony is, but you’re not actually consulting with her on any policy. So what is it that she’s doing, exactly?”
“Senator, as I have repeatedly testified, she is focused on addressing the root causes of irregular migration in the context of the migration channels,” Mayorkas responded.
“How’s that been going?” snarked Hawley.
“That is a — We are advancing considerably, and in fact, I am contributing to that effort ,” said Mayorkas, who cited trips he had made to meet with officials in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and other countries.
“And those efforts are working? That’s been successful?” Hawley asked.
“This is a process that takes time and delivers an enduring solution,” Mayorkas insisted.
The Post notes “The pointed questions about Harris’ role come amid reports that the vice president is both increasingly sidelined by Biden during crucial meetings, and saddled with controversial issues that are eating away at her popularity.”
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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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