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Mixed signals: VP Harris now tells migrants ‘don’t come’

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Vice President Harris implored migrants not to attempt to cross the border alongside Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamattei during a news conference in Guatemala Monday. Her arrival Monday was her first international trip since she was inaugurated. She also seemed to imply to reporters in the room that neither she or President Biden will be making the “grand gesture” of visiting the border themselves.

“I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come,” Harris said. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”

But, when it came to describing the consequences of attempting to cross the border, Harris was less brazen. “And I believe if you come to our border you will be turned back,” the vice president said. She asked Guatemalans instead to “find hope at home.”

During her remarks, Harris announced a young women’s empowerment initiative and investments in agribusiness and affordable housing. She also announced that she has created an anticorruption task force alongside the Justice, Treasury and State departments, which she called “the first of its kind.”

Yet, as an Associated Press reporter pointed out after the conference, Giamattei has openly opposed anti-corruption efforts. Harris responded that the task force would combat corruption with or without Giamattei’s support.

President Giammattei also alluded that Harris promised to return to Guatemala in the future. But, when that same AP reporter asked Harris about visiting the border, she said she’d rather focus on efforts similar to the ones made by her and Giammattei Monday than “grand gestures.”

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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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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