From a COVID relief bill packed with foreign aid to now significant funding being offered for temporary migrant facilities, it appears the Biden administration’s high-priority investments lie outside of the United States.
On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee pressed officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the $86.9 million the departments were allotted to house over 1,200 migrant families in hotel rooms, according to Fox News.
Blackburn sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and ICE acting director Tae Johnson in an attempt to dig deeper into the financial history of the nonprofit group Endeavors — which was awarded the $86.9 million contract by the Biden administration earlier this month.
Fox Business reported on the contract earlier this month, citing its intent “to provide temporary shelter and processing services for families who have not been expelled from the United States but have been placed in immigration proceedings for their removal.”
The contract grants families comprehensive health assessments, including COVID-19 testing, in addition to 1,239 beds and other services deemed essential.
Blackburn raised questions of how the contract money will actually be used, however.
Endeavors accumulated “over $38 million in contributions and grants” in 2018, according to a news release on the Tennessee senator’s website, and Blackburn noted nearly half of the amount went to salaries alone.
“This raises questions if half of the $86.9 million in ICE contract proceeds will likewise be allocated toward employee and executive compensation instead of migrant services or housing,” she wrote.
“As the current contract stands, the cost to taxpayers for housing 1,200 migrant families for six months is about $71,000 per person. For a family of four, that amounts to a shocking $284,000 — enough to buy a small house.”
If Blackburn’s insights into temporary housing finances are, in fact, true, what does this say about our nation’s inability to house the growing number of homeless Americans — many of which served the nation itself?
For this much money, President Joe Biden could build houses for our fellow Americans suffering on our own city streets. Instead, millions of dollars in funding are going to temporary housing for migrants.
We can only imagine the opportunities this type of funding could afford our homeless population. Better facilities, individual housing or programs to help these Americans in need get back on their feet?
Government-mandated shutdowns, COVID-19 small business restrictions and mass layoffs and furloughs left many Americans displaced last year; this problem will likely extend — or worsen, even — until the pandemic becomes a part of history.
Now more than ever, Americans deserve priority funding, medical care, COVID tests and vaccines that could further prevent the virus from spreading among our population.
Are we really going to prioritize temporary housing for migrant families over permanent, secure living situations for our own civilians displaced by various setbacks?
Unfortunately, the mindset of this administration is clear: America first is a concept — and policy — of the past.
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