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Homeland Security Committee releases report on highlighting Homeland Security waste

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(The Center Square) – The House Committee on Homeland Security Majority released its fifth and final interim report as part of its nearly year-long investigation into “the causes, costs, and consequences of the crisis at the Southwest border and how the reckless decision-making and legally dubious policies of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Joe Biden have precipitated the worst border crisis in American history.”

The report was published after the committee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., said he planned to impeach Mayorkas in January. It was also published after the committee released a series of transcripts of interviews it conducted with Border Patrol sector chiefs earlier this year.

The first report details the laws and court orders the committee says Mayorkas “ignored, abused or failed to follow.” The second report details how Mexican cartels “have seized unprecedented control at the Southwest border to smuggle illegal aliens, criminals, suspected terrorists, and deadly fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.”

The third report detailed how transnational gangs are working with cartel operatives to oversee a massive human smuggling operation; the fourth estimated border crisis costs to U.S. taxpayers of over $451 billion.

The final interim report details “consistent misuse and abuse of taxpayer resources enabled by Mayorkas, specifically through his failure to detain illegal aliens and use Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention resources in accordance with their intended purpose.” It also addresses the costs of halting construction of the border wall already paid for by taxpayers.

It first compares the costs to taxpayers to house illegal foreign nationals in hotels instead of in ICE detention facilities, instead contracting with unqualified providers.

“There are significant differences in costs associated with using ICE detention facilities compared to housing illegal aliens in other facilities, like state-run shelters,” the report notes. It also suggests that DHS is “purposefully passing on the cost of housing illegal aliens to the states, since DHS consistently requests fewer detention beds than are reasonably necessary.”

According to DHS’ fiscal 2024 budget justification, the projected daily cost of an ICE detention facility bed (which includes meals, health care, and other services) was $142.44 or less per person. According to President Biden’s 2024 budget request, the rate was $157.20. New York City reported daily costs for families was $339 and $184 for single adults. DHS also asked for thousands less detention beds, not more, during an unprecedented crisis, the report notes.

This is after ICE was already not using detention facilities at full capacity, which taxpayers pay for regardless of whether they’re used or not.

With 25,000 ICE beds costing $142.44 a day, 365 days a year, costs to taxpayers totals $1.3 billion; daily costs of $157.20 totaled $1.43 billion.

Instead of using the detention facilities at capacity to hold and deport illegal aliens, the report notes, Mayorkas implemented a “catch and release” policy, whereby illegal foreign nationals are processed to be released into the U.S.

If they were being held in ICE detention facilities, as required by law, they may not be subjected to conditions “far below the standards required by ICE facilities and private contractors with whom ICE coordinates these services,” the report suggests, pointing to examples of people sleeping on police station floors, sidewalks and other substandard situations.

The report also points to $600 million in taxpayer money spent on no-bid contracts to Family Endeavors, an NGO responsible for housing and caring for unaccompanied minors and families, which, before 2021, had no experience providing such services.

It also points to an April 2022 DHS Office of Inspector General report, which found that DHS spent $17 million on unused “hotel space and services” through an Endeavors contract. The report also found that Endeavors “did not follow required ICE standards to ensure the proper care for housing migrant families while in its facilities,” among other deficiencies.

“Instead of holding illegal aliens in ICE facilities, as required by law, taxpayers are on the hook for those beds, additional federal contracts to outside vendors, and reimbursing states for hotels and other shelters,” the report states.

Halting construction of the border wall cost taxpayers $10 billion, “an astounding waste of taxpayer resources,” the report found. Additionally, DHS spent $72 million in shutdown costs to halt border wall construction.

“The wholesale waste and abuse of taxpayer resources made possible by Mayorkas’ refusal to enforce the laws of the United States is unacceptable,” the report concludes. “His reckless actions and decisions have not only forced cities and states to pick up the tab for unprecedented numbers of illegal aliens, but have actively wasted federal funds reserved for securing the border and enforcing the law. There is simply no excuse for such, at best, utter incompetence, and at worst, willful mismanagement of precious taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, careful stewardship of the public trust has proven yet another casualty of Mayorkas’ failed leadership of the department.”

When testifying before the Senate earlier this year, Mayorkas said, “I have unflinching confidence in the integrity of my conduct.” He has also repeatedly testified before Congress that the border is secure. He also says he has no plans of resigning.

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