Biden Administration Awards $86 Million Contract for Hotel Rooms for Migrants to Manage the Crisis at the Border

(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Axios is reporting today that the Biden administration has awarded an $86 million contract to house 1,200 migrant family members in hotels along the Texas and Arizona borders with Mexico as it tries to deal with the backlog of registration and processing the thousands of migrants caught while crossing the border — or surrendering themselves after crossing the border with a plan for how to be allowed to remain.

The use of hotels as temporary holding facilities is not new.  The Trump administration used a similar plan to hold unaccompanied minors, but generally only so long as was necessary to make arrangements to return them back across the border to Mexico.

But because the Biden Administration is not expelling migrants using policies established by the Trump Administration, the use of hotels to house families is likely to be converted to longer-term arrangements for families with nowhere else to go.

In this respect, it is just another method to deal with the huge number of border crossers who have outstripped DHS’s capacity to process them — with the daily stream of border crossers showing no signs of easing.  My colleague Nick Arama chronicled in this story a plan by DHS to use air transport to move migrants from the states on the US-Mexico border to northern and coastal states where DHS has processing facilities for migrants in an effort to relieve the strain on DHS’s resources.

As noted in the Axios article, the hotels will not be the equivalent of secure government facilities — they will simply devolve into low-income housing with the rent being paid by the Biden Administration.

I suspect we are not talking about rooms at the Marriot Residence Inns with a free breakfast bar for guests each morning. The migrants taking up residence in the hotels will be subject to the same types of crime and exploitation by the unscrupulous and criminal elements in those cities that is otherwise found in all types of low-income housing, likely made worse by a fear on the part of the migrants to look to local police for help.

By largely denying press access to the DHS facilities along the Mexico border, the Biden Administration has kept images of the crisis largely out of public view.  But the efforts to shield their handling of the crisis by keeping the media images to a minimum is proving ineffective in terms of public opinion.

From the Rasmussen story:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 73% of Likely U.S. Voters are concerned about the government’s ability to handle the growing number of migrants at the border while meeting COVID-19 protocols. That includes 48% who say they are Very Concerned.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on two separate amnesty bills that would provide legal status to up to 5 million “undocumented” immigrants.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Likely Voters oppose such an amnesty plan, including 35% who Strongly Oppose amnesty. Forty-five percent (45%) say they support amnesty for undocumented immigrants, including 22% who Strongly Support it.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Democrats support legislation to give lifetime work permits and a path to citizenship for an estimated five million undocumented immigrants, including 38% who Strongly Support such legislation. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans are against such an amnesty, including 55% who Strongly Oppose it. Among unaffiliated voters, 55% are opposed to giving lifetime work permits and a path to citizenship for an estimated five million undocumented immigrants, including 36% who are Strongly Opposed.

Immigration reform has always been a subject that hurts the Democrat party while they are in control of the government.  Only two months into the new Biden Administration the border is effectively “open,” the number of migrants is growing daily, amnesty bills are being passed in the House, and public opinion against the policies is mounting.

From Axios:

The number of migrant family members caught crossing the southwest border more than doubled between January and February — rising from 7,000 to nearly 19,000, according to the most recently released agency data.

  • Border officials continue to use a Trump-era order to quickly return many families to Mexico. But Mexico has limited capacity to take in migrant families and won’t accept some with young children, according to administration officials.

  • 42% of families were expelled to Mexico last month — down from 64% in January and 91% in October, according to the data. More than 13,000 family members who crossed the U.S. border illegally have been allowed into the country since the start of January, many released into border communities. The Biden administration does not use the order to expel unaccompanied children, as the previous administration did.

It’s like the movie “Groundhog Day” and we’re back in 2009 with the Obama Administration.