Politics

Everything you need to know about the Biden administration holding illegal immigrant families in hotels

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Saturday that the Biden administration will be spending $86.9 million to house illegal immigrant families in hotels.

Migrant families arriving in the US will be housed in hotels under a new program managed by nonprofit organizations, according to two people familiar with the plans. Endeavors, a San Antonio-based organization, will oversee what it calls “family reception sites” at Texas and Arizona hotels. The organization, in partnership with other nonprofits, will initially provide beds in seven different brand-name hotels for families deemed vulnerable when caught at the border. Tae Johnson, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said the agency had signed a short-term, $86.9 million contract with Endeavors to provide temporary shelter and processing services for migrant families.

ICE reported the short-term hotel contract in a statement posted on its website, explaining that it “provides 1,239 beds and other necessary services” to illegal migrants: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has signed a short-term contract with the non-profit division of Endeavors 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. The $86.9 million contract provides 1,239 beds and other necessary services. The families will receive a comprehensive health assessment that includes COVID-19 testing. Our border is not open. The majority of individuals continue to be expelled under the Centers for Disease Control’s public health authority.”

Other services provided include snacks, unlimited phone access, and private rooms, an ICE statement obtained by Snopes explains: “ICE will apply its Family Residential Standards as its quality of care model for all of those housed at a family residential center or contracted shelter, with modifications to educational services at both and limited recreational facilities at the hotels. Families will be provided clothing, meals/snacks, access to medical care, legal counsel, unlimited phone access, and individual rooms for appropriate physical distancing” [CNS News].

Additional services include “culturally appropriate, trauma-informed, child-centered case management, home study, and post-release services.” Fox Business reports: “Other services provided by Endeavors for migrant families navigating the U.S. immigration process include victim services, therapeutic regiments, educational resources and mental health care. Endeavors also offers culturally appropriate, trauma-informed, child-centered case management, home study, and post-release services for unaccompanied children and their sponsors.”

In January, Biden issued an order directing the Justice Department not to renew its contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities. However, the order did not address immigration jails run by ICE. The number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has climbed in recent weeks as Biden has rolled back some of the hard-line policies of former President Donald Trump, a Republican. Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has faced criticism from Republicans for reversing those policies. At the same time, some Democrats opposed Biden’s administration reopening a Trump-era emergency shelter for children [MSN].

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POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: PBS

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