In a fresh twist on the Biden administration’s decision to house illegal immigrants at hotel facilities, crunching the numbers on the $86.9 million that is set to be spent on 1,239 beds shows that the cost to U.S. taxpayers will be nearly $72,000 per border-crosser housed.
“That works out to $71,666.67 per migrant, paid by your tax dollars, meaning that you are now a co-conspirator to one of the largest smuggling schemes in history,” wrote Andrew Arthur, a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative policy research nonprofit.
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed to The Epoch Times that the Biden administration plans to use hotel facilities to accommodate family units unlawfully crossing the U.S.–Mexico border.
“The $86.9 million contract provides 1,239 beds and other necessary services,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Tae D. Johnson.
He said a short-term contract was awarded to Endeavors, a San Antonio-based nonprofit organization, 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.”
Hotels have been used as detention facilities, including last year, when the DHS placed more than 600 unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border in 25 hotels in three states before their expulsion.
Johnson also said that the families would receive a health assessment, including COVID-19 testing, and added: “Our border is not open. The majority of individuals continue to be expelled under the Centers for Disease Control’s public health authority.”
The message that the U.S.–Mexico border “is not open” is part of the Biden administration’s more aggressive posture after a wave of criticism that President Joe Biden’s rhetoric on immigration reform, in addition to shutting down key Trump administration border security measures, is being interpreted by would-be illegal immigrants as an invitation to enter the country.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) told The Epoch Times‘ “American Thought Leaders” program last week that Biden’s rhetoric was fueling a humanitarian and national security crisis.
“Come on up here, step one foot in, and you will be admitted,” Babin said, characterizing the thrust of the Biden administration’s messaging on immigration. “And, eventually, you will be on a path to citizenship and you’ll receive an education … you’ll get free health care, you will get even stimulus checks,” he added.
Seeking to counter this impression, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas took to the airwaves last week, appearing on four Sunday news shows in a bid to drive a message home that the Biden administration’s policies don’t mean that the border is open.
“Our message has been straightforward—the border is closed,” Mayorkas said. “We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults. And we’ve made a decision that we will not expel young, vulnerable children.”
In recent weeks, the number of children and families caught trying to enter the United States illegally from Mexico has grown to magnitudes unseen since before the pandemic. Customs and Border Protection has noted a more than 100 percent month-over-month increase in February in two categories of illegal aliens—family units and unaccompanied minors.
Biden has faced criticism from Republicans for reversing some of the immigration policies of former President Donald Trump, which they argue has led to a surge of people seeking to cross the border illegally.
After taking office, Biden proposed a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in the United States unlawfully, and promised in an executive order to “create a humane asylum system.”
Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in a tweet on March 24 that “Joe Biden and congressional Democrat leaders have managed our border so poorly they’re now having to spend your taxpayer money to house migrants in hotels.”
“And now they want to pass H.R. 1, putting them in charge of your elections too. A disaster waiting to happen,” Meadows wrote, referring to the For the People Act of 2021, which passed the Democratic-controlled House on March 3 on a largely party-line vote of 220-210, with all Republicans and one Democrat—Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)—voting against it.
Political activist Mark Meckler, who heads the Convention of States Action project, warned that the Democratic-led election reform bill is a threat to democracy.
“They call it the For the People Act, I actually call it the Destruction of Democracy Act or the Death of Democracy Act,” Meckler told The Epoch Times’ “Crossroads” program in an interview. “They intend to take the power away from the states—the fundamental power to decide how their elections are run.”
Democrats have framed the bill as a crucial step against voter suppression and other alleged problems.
“Our democracy is in a state of deep disrepair,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after reintroducing the bill in January. “During the 2020 election, Americans had to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering, and a torrent of special interest dark money just to exercise their right to vote.”