Report: Biden administration awards $87M no-bid contract to non-profit with ties to Biden

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Biden administration has awarded Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) an $86.9 million contract for hotel rooms near the southern U.S.-Mexico border 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 Biden administration did not solicit bids for this multi-million contract to house immigrant families in hotels and instead gave the massive contract to an organization whose leadership has ties to the White House, including one official who was on the Biden transition team.

The contract, which is through the Texas-based nonprofit Family Endeavors, provides 1,239 beds and other necessary services. Reportedly, the families will receive a comprehensive health assessment, including COVID-19 testing. 

The Biden administration signed this deal even though a member of Congress and people with knowledge of the matter said it presented a conflict of interest and wasted existing government facilities. 

The nonprofit has no previous history as an ICE contractor, but it does have a former senior official on the Biden transition team in its leadership. Former ICE official Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, identified as a potential broker in the deal by Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia. 

On January 20th, Inauguration Day, Family Endeavors announced that Lorenzen-Strait would become its senior director for migrant services and federal affairs, meaning that he would be the organizations direct liaison to the federal government.

Now, within two months, Lorenzen-Strait secured the multi-million contract. However, government contracts are supposed to be awarded through an open competitive process, as outlined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Information obtained through the Federal Procurement Data System indicates that ICE never opened the contract to outside companies and organizations and instead went with an internal candidate who had significant insider connections.

One individual who is familiar with how ICE brokered the deal with Family Endeavors said in a statement:

“The bid was not advertised for competition, as is the norm.”

Carol Thompson, a partner with the Washington-based Federal Practice Group law firm added:

“Unless certain exceptions apply, an agency must compete the contract.”

Thompson said that the only exception would be in the case of an emergency, such as a disaster relief. In that case, ICE would have to then provide a “Justification and Approval” document explaining why it did not compete the contract.

Additionally, Thompson said that a failure to do so would likely result in disciplinary action against the ICE officials who signed the deal and the contract would be canceled. After being contacted by the Washington Examiner, ICE published its alleged reason for not competing the contract.

In its response, the agency cited “unusual and compelling urgency” as the reason for not complying with federal contract law. In a letter to ICE leadership, Clyde wrote:

“Though the situation at the border might warrant the use of the exception, I find it hard to believe that there were no other vendors that could have been at least considered for the award.”

He added:

“I am gravely concerned given that ICE did not compete this contract award, that this is Endeavors’ first contract with ICE, and that he contract award amount far exceeds any previous award amounts with this organization.”

Reportedly, Family Endeavors has had contracts in the past with several other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Acquisition Service. However, the contracts were valued at less than $1 million, except for one that was $1.4 million.

According to tax documents, Family Endeavors took in $43 million in 2018. It’s new $87 million contract is more than double that and despite its nonprofit status, its seven top executives made six-figure salaries in 2018, as much as $312,000 that year.

Before Lorenzen-Strait joined Family Endeavors, he was on the Biden-Harris transition team working on the DHS policy team where he vetted political appointees for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the care that unaccompanied migrant minor children are provided while in government custody.

The multi-million award announcement comes just days after White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the White House plans to provide 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico.

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Biden administration’s immigration policies earn traffickers $14M per day while costing taxpayers billions

March 22nd, 2021

TUCSON, AZ – As the Biden administration struggles to control the onslaught of immigrants at the U.S.- Mexico border, criminal organizations trafficking people over the border earned as much as $14 million dollar a day in February.

Former Tucson Border Patrol Chief Roy Villareal told Fox News that trafficking women, children, and single adults has become a multi-billion dollar industry:

“A lot of these vulnerable populations use their life savings. Some are essentially indentured servants and they’re working off this debt for a long period of time. In other cases, some of these migrants are asked to transport narcotics or some form of crime to work off a different part of their debt.”

According to smuggling fee revenues estimated by the Customs and Border Patrol, traffickers made $411.5 million in February ferrying people from Mexico and other Central American countries to the U.S. border.

That breaks down to approximately $14.7 million per day.

News of the windfall for traffickers comes as the border crisis spikes under the Biden administration’s promise to ease border enforcement, in contrast for his predecessor. Former President Donald Trump took a hard line against immigration, and demanded strict enforcement along the border.

Border enforcement is costing taxpayers over $5 million day, based on 2019 figures provided by the Health and Human Services Department.

Adding to the financial burden, the Biden administration awarded an $86 million contract to provide hotel rooms to hold 1,200 migrant families after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) overran holding capacity.

The contract with Texas-based nonprofit Endeavors will 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.

Endeavor’s President and CEO Jon Allman said:

“(The money will go toward) critical services to migrant families, which is a continuation of services we have delivered to the migrant population since 2012.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been a vocal opponent to the Biden administrations’ lax enforcement policies. He said in a statement:

“The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border.

President Biden’s refusal to address the border crisis is not only enabling criminal actors like human traffickers and smugglers, but it is exposing innocent unaccompanied children to illness and potentially unsafe living conditions.”

The growing crisis on the southern border is growing by the day, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who said on Tuesday:

“In more than 80 percent of cases, the child has a family member in the United States. In more than 40 percent of cases, that family member is a parent or legal guardian. These are children being reunited with their families who will care for them.”

Mayorkas defended the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis, which he refused to call a crisis:

“We are encouraging families, not to send their children along the dangerous journey because so many do not make it safely. We are encouraging them not to do so. Yet, if they arrive at the border, we have a responsibility to allow them to make their claims under United States law.”

In addition to tax money through government agencies flooding into the border crisis, non-governmental agencies have also been seeking taxpayer support to provided services at the border.

In San Diego, the county asked the California delegation to reimburse Jewish Family Services for shelter, food, transportation and case management for hundreds of migrants taken in since January.

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked for a breakdown of the expenses, but the county has not responded. Rep. Issa stated:

“They did hold a gun to our head because they were asking for money to non-government organizations that take on these refugees. And they wanted an indeterminate amount of money for something permanent. And they wanted basically a blank check.

“The NGOs are happy to take federal dollars to do social work. But at the end of the day, the taxpayers on the hook and probably for a long time to come.”

The Biden administration has feigned surprise at the influx of refugees arriving at the southern border, but form Trump immigration officials say they were warned. Former Ice Chief Ken Cuccinelli said:

“During the transition, we told them what would happen if they went this route. So, it is both predictable and predicted. And they went down this route. So you have to ask yourself why did they do that, and the answer is they want this flood at the border.”

This week, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) will lead a delegation of 14 House member to the southern border to review the situation. Arrington said:

“I don’t think that folks in the federal government, whether it’s Mayorkas or it’s members of Congress, are prepared to witness what’s going on at the border as a result of President Biden’s policies. I heard the clip about Mayorkas saying we’re encouraging people to not cross the border.

“The fact is, actions speak louder than words. And the policies taken together are saying, come one, come all, violate our laws and we won’t detain and deport you.”

The Biden administration made so many promises for leniency at the border during his campaign that he had to backtrack last week. The President sent a message to immigrants approaching the border:

“I can say quite clearly: Don’t come. We’re in the process of getting set up, don’t leave your town or city or community.

Last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the situation at the border a “Biden border crisis”:

“This crisis is created by the presidential policies of this new administration. There’s no other way to claim it than a Biden border crisis.”

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Author: Jenna Curren

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