EXCLUSIVE: The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security is evaluating a multi-million dollar contract awarded to a Texas company that employs a former transition manager from Biden, several sources of the investigation confirmed to Fox News.
A DHS IG official told Fox News that the contract, with San Antonio-based nonprofit Endeavors, is undergoing an evaluation to examine how “ICE plans to house families from migrants in hotels and how ICE selected a contractor to implement these plans. . ”The official title of the survey is“ ICE Contract to Host Migrants in Hotels ”.
Tens of thousands of migrants cross the southern border each month, with nearly 180,000 encountered by customs and border patrol along the southwest border in April 2021.
Thousands of these migrants are now accommodated in hotels, thanks to Endeavors. The company recently landed some massive government contracts worth over half a billion dollars.
On January 20, 2021, the same day President Joe Biden was sworn in, Endeavors issued a press release announcing the hiring of Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, a former Immigration and Customs Officer (ICE) who has also served as Biden transition. advising on internal security issues.
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Less than two months after Lorenzen-Strait arrived, federal records show efforts were made with the Department of Health and Human Services for up to $ 579 million and another without an offer with Homeland Security for $ 87. millions of dollars.
“This is a non-competitive contract, and these should only be used in the most extraordinary circumstances,” said Tom Jones of the American Accountability Foundation, a conservative watchdog organization. . “It’s typical and it’s terrible. Both sides are doing it. That’s why we have a huge budget deficit and skyrocketing debt… There is dirt and swamp on both sides, but we have to eliminate that. ”
Endeavors declined to answer questions about the contracts, but in a statement to Fox News, Lorenzen-Strait called it “a valued leader of the Endeavors team.” He is a recognized expert in migrant child and family protection who has consulted with various profit and non-profit organizations. organizations after leaving his career with the federal government in May 2019 ”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to answer our specific questions about the scope of its contract with Endeavors, but wrote: “The border is not open and people continue to be deported under public health authority. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). families in the care of the ICE will be housed in a manner that complies with legal requirements for the safety and well-being of children and their parents or guardians.
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Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about concerns about the non-tender nature of the contract, for Endeavors, which is sometimes referred to as Family Endeavors.
“Under the contract, the US government has already committed $ 255.2 million, with a potential amount of $ 529.5 million for the ’emergency reception site and integrated care services at the support of the [Office of Refugee Resettlement] Program for Unaccompanied Children “in Pecos, Texas,” wrote the Republicans. “This is the second major government contract that Family Endeavors has received in recent weeks without going through fair and open competition. The most recent contract, potentially valued at $ 529.5 million, represents more than twelve times the most recent annual budget of Family Endeavors, raising questions about its ability to effectively execute the contract and meet the demands of the family. contract. In addition, there are other contractors, probably more experienced, who would also be able to do the work, but due to the sole sourcing, they will not have a chance to seize this opportunity. More worryingly, it appears that Family Endeavors won these contracts just months after hiring Andrew Lorenzen-Strait as senior director of migrant services and federal affairs. “
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Such untendered contracts were a rallying cry for Democrats under the Trump administration. “If you know a little bit about monster trucks, you know one of them is called ‘Swamp Thing’. It’s Trump. He’s a swamp man,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said on the 27th. April 2017.
When reached by phone, Lorenzen-Strait told Fox News he worked at Endeavors but made no further comment. The Department of Homeland Security is expected to end its contract with Endeavors in September, the Department of Health and Human Services in July.
HHS acknowledged our requests but did not respond.
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