Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is pushing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)to review the more than $500 million government contract that was awarded to a nonprofit that would provide immigrant housing in 2021.
The Examiner reported on Friday that in a letter sent from Mayorkas to Marsha Espinosa, DHS’ assistant secretary for public affairs, and five other DHS employees on April 14, 2021, it was stated that the department needed to examine where its rules were “followed scrupulously.” This had been a response to a previous email by Espinosa, in which he had attached a news article that had claimed that the
This was in response to an email Espinosa sent with a news article that questioned whether the $530 million contract granted to the nonprofit, Endeavors, was legal.
The Examiner gained access to the letter after the American Accountability Foundation had filed a lawsuit in the case. According to the report the Biden administration had two separate agreements with Endeavors which noted that the nonprofit could provide housing for immigrants in private facilities.
According to deferral regulations in order for a contract to be awarded there needs to be a “full and open competition.” However, this particular contract had been offered without a competitive process. This is allowed in some cases and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had said that “unusual and compelling urgency” was the reason why the Endeavors contract had been awarded straight away.
The first contract from ICE awarded $87 million for Endeavors that were to be used to oversee migrant families to spend detention in hotels in Arizona and Texas. The second, which is the $530 million contract in question, was awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services for immigrant children to be provided housing in Pecos, Texas.