U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wasted over $1 million dollars on contracts for transporting illegal aliens, according to an inspector general report released on Monday.
A number of problems with ICE’s oversight of transportation contracts led to $408,975 in “erroneous or unsupported” payments and $900,144 in expenditures that could have been put to better use, according to the report. The excessive spending is the result of ICE’s partial failure to follow federal guidelines for managing contracts and auditing expenses.
From 2019 to 2022, ICE spent roughly $746 million on over a dozen transportation contracts, the bulk of which goes towards transporting illegal migrants apprehended in the U.S. to a number of locations, including detention centers, family care centers, refugee resettlement facilities or back over the southern border, according to the report. The contracts ICE makes are through vendors who can help provide the necessary transportation services.
However, ICE did not manage and track a number of factors associated with the contracts, including how many illegal migrants were transported by contractors and cost estimations for the contracts, according to the report. ICE also didn’t always properly appoint or certify contracting officers representatives (COR), which are the officers responsible for overseeing existing contracts, and unqualified CORs ended up poorly reviewing invoices and inadequately managing contractor performance.
Such a large number of migrants have come into the country illegally under the Biden administration that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cannot track all of them, according to a separate inspector general report. Migrant encounters at the southern border are on track to beat the previous record of more than 2.3 million that were recorded crossing in fiscal year 2022; approximately 181,000 migrants were apprehended by Border Patrol at the southern border in August alone.
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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