WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) led a letter questioning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas regarding an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report that found U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wasted taxpayer dollars on hotel rooms for illegal immigrants that were never used.
Senators Tillis and Moran were joined by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The OIG report found that ICE did not go through the proper process to secure a contract for housing, and with the contract ICE secured, hundreds of beds were left empty totaling more nearly $17 million of wasted spending. During the same six month period in which taxpayer dollars were being wasted, the three closest Family Residential Centers (FRC) had an average capacity of less than 25 percent. One FRC went entirely unoccupied for four of those six months.
“The manner in which DHS executed the contract to house migrant families raises serious questions about the department’s initial response to the crisis and its ability to respond to the continuous and increasing illegal migration,” the senators wrote. “According to the OIG report, ICE did not proactively request proposals to assist in fulfilling its mission to house migrant families.”
“Ensuring adequate housing for families as they work their way through the immigration system is a vital part of the mission of ICE,” the senators continued. “However, wasteful spending as outlined by the recent OIG report works to the disadvantage of all involved. All contracts entered into by a federal agency, including DHS, should be done in an appropriate manner that provides the most efficient and cost-effective outcome.”
The full letter can be found HERE.