Biden administration bungled COVID testing, wasted hotel rooms during early migrant surge

Millions of dollars wasted on unused hotel rooms, public put at risk by poor COVID screening, Homeland Security inspector general warns.

Updated: April 18, 2022 - 12:07pm

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President Joe Biden campaigned for president vowing to increase competence in government, but his first efforts at dealing with the illegal migrant surge that his policies created at the southern U.S. border were badly bungled, a new watchdog report revealed Monday.

The administration's failures, the Homeland Security Department's inspector general said, were "putting migrant families and the outside population at risk of contracting COVID-19" last year. 

The department's internal watchdog sharply criticized the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for its handling of the early illegal-immigration wave, saying its contractor did not administer COVID screenings and wasted millions dollars on hotel rooms it rented but did not use for migrants.

"ICE did not adequately justify the need for the sole source contract to house migrant families and spent approximately $17 million for hotel space and services at six hotels that went largely unused between April and June 2021," the inspector general wrote in the scathing report made public Monday. "ICE’s sole source contract with Endeavors resulted in millions of dollars being spent on unused hotel space."

Endeavors provide provides professional care services for migrants, the homeless and other populations.

The report also states: "In addition, Endeavors did not meet new healthcare protocols or ensure proper COVID-19 testing for families. For example, families were not tested by ICE for COVID prior to being transported to hotels and were not always tested by Endeavors staff upon arrival at or departure from hotels, putting migrant families and the outside population at risk of contracting COVID-19. 

You can read the full report here: