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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
"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.
Democrats have framed the bill as a crucial step against voter suppression and other alleged problems.