Proverbially, it’s an ill wind that blows no good, and the ill wind that is the migrant crunch at the border may prove to be good for some as-yet-unnamed contracting company.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) put out a solicitation this week for “on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent UAC and FAMUs ranging from infants to 17 years of age and adults with a family, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year.” (UAC is government speak for “unaccompanied children, FAMU for “family units.)
That means that the lucky winner of the bid will “arrange commercial airline and bus trips for roughly 60,000 people” each year, over the period covered by the five-year contract. The asylum seekers will be distributed across the U.S. to any of a number of Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters or family residential centers while they await adjudication of their cases. The estimate of 60,000 represents a significant yearly increase over the average of the previous three years, when a total of 143,000 persons were transported.
The contract will be worth millions.
This is not the first contract for migrant/refugee services entered into by the administration. Last year, the Daily Beast reported that a defense contractor, MVM.inc, had secured a contract worth $277 million for similar services.
Ninety percent of the would-be asylees will be transported by air.
Thus, U.S. taxpayers continue to pay more each year just to house and care for a growing number of asylum seekers knowing that historically at least 80 percent will eventually be denied asylum status. That’s not counting those who simply disappear into the U.S. and never appear for their court hearings. Of those who do appear and are denied asylum, the percentage actually deported is minuscule, as low as 3 percent.
Given so little resolve on the part of the government, you’re inclined to ask, Why bother?
For more, see Quartz.