A recent surge in migration isn’t the only crisis President Joe Biden is having to contend with on the southern border.
According to the Washington Examiner, the cost of housing tens of thousands of incoming migrant children has now eclipsed $3 billion under the Biden administration — and a hefty portion of that money went to private companies and nonprofits that won contracts without going through the typical bidding process.
It’s all starting to amount to a budding scandal for the administration, particularly as some of those contractors have close ties to Biden and the White House.
Scandals on scandals
According to an Associated Press report cited by the Examiner, more than $2 billion of the money spent on the border under Biden so far has gone to just three firms that were contracted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help with providing temporary housing for unaccompanied minors who cross into the U.S.
The first is a private, New York-based company known as Deployed Resources LLC, which was awarded a contract worth $719 million to construct and operate a 1,500-bed tent facility in Donna, Texas. The Alabama-based Rapid Deployment Inc. meanwhile received two contracts totaling $614 million to oversee a housing facility for migrant children at Fort Bliss near El Paso.
The facility is said to be the largest of its kind and is expected to be expanded to as many as 10,000 beds.
Finally, a Texas-based nonprofit known as Family Endeavors Inc. received two no-bid contracts totaling $667 million — $580 million to manage an emergency intake facility in Pecos, Texas, and $87 million to provide hotel rooms and additional services to migrant families.
Each of the firms reportedly skirted the standard process for bidding on federal contracts.
More problems for Biden
According to the Examiner, the HHS “also diverged from policies that mandate any child care facility be state-licensed, a measure in place to prevent abuse and neglect of minors in government facilities.”
Worse still for the Biden administration are reports that one of the three firms — Family Endeavors — received a lucrative contract just after it had hired as a top executive a former member of Biden’s presidential transition team.
Axios first revealed the news in an April report that claimed Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who later served as a senior adviser to Biden’s transition team on matters related to the Department of Homeland Security, now works as senior director for migrant services and federal affairs at the nonprofit.
While there’s no sign of any illegal activity, it all raises questions about how the Biden administration has handled the crisis at the border. And try as the White House might to deflect, those questions aren’t going away any time soon.