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Government employees asked to take paid leave to help with migrant surge at the border: report

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As an unprecedented number of migrants continue to cross the southern border into the U.S., the government is reportedly offering employees paid leave in exchange for volunteering at migrant facilities.

The New York Times reported that agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and NASA, are urging their employees to take a temporary leave of absence in order to help out at the southern border.

Employees reportedly received an email last week stating: “Will you consider taking a four-month paid leave from your job to help care for migrant children in government-run shelters packed with new arrivals at the border?”

Ken Klippenstein, a reporter for The Intercept, obtained a copy of an email NASA sent to their employees. According to the email, Health and Human Services (HHS) requested candidates to serve up to a 120-day “voluntary deployment” to provide care for unaccompanied migrant children, including finding placements for children in foster care.

The email noted that this temporary position is a “reimbursable detail” that provides travel, lodging and per diem.

The Times reported that 2,722 government employees volunteered as of Friday, with most of their salaries being picked up by the Health Department.

Nearly 19,000 unaccompanied migrant children entered the U.S. border custody in March — an all time high.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Immigration

IG Audit shows nonprofit wasted $17 million taxpayer dollars on hotels to not house illegal foreign nationals

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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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