As the Biden administration scrambles to open convention centers and military bases to house the massive numbers of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the southern border, American taxpayers are footing the bill for beds that sit empty in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, according to a report.
While the administration has 19,000 minors in custody, it has released into the country nearly 60 percent of the migrant families apprehended at the border in February, and ICE continues to pay for thousands of idle beds, Fox News reported on Monday.
ICE pays for beds for 29,000 adults, the report said, but as of last week, the average daily adult population in ICE custody was 14,134 – meaning at an average contract rate of $75 a day, it was paying $1,125,000 a day for those empty beds.
The drop in ICE detentions is allegedly due to concerns about coronavirus infections and court orders.
ICE arrests plummeted 65 percent in March compared to the end of the Trump administration.
And judges ordered the release of 3,700 inmates – nearly 2,000 of whom were charged with or convicted of serious crimes, including homicide, assault, child abuse, rape, domestic violence, and kidnapping.
“That’s who’s in custody. When you’re telling them to release them, it’s not some hapless individual who got arrested by ICE for a broken taillight. Those are not the cases in custody. It’s the most egregious cases that ICE is being forced to release,” Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox News.
“Their caseload of criminal aliens in detention is always the worst of the worst. And that’s why when you look at the criminal histories of the people who were held in custody and released, it’s shocking that people were released who had homicide convictions, rape, DUI, domestic violence, every crime on the books,” she added.
ICE refused to disclose the rates of repeat offenders, but acknowledged that it has released people who “have extensive criminal histories and pose a potential public safety threat.”
The Rand Institute estimates that the rates of recidivism in the first year is between 35 and 43 percent.
The Biden administration has decided that it will not return unaccompanied children to their home country, even though a federal appeals court ruled in January that the government can expel them just as former President Donald Trump did.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration has opted not to do that, insisting the practice was “immoral.”
On Monday, she tried to defend the weak poll numbers for how President Biden is handling the border crisis.
US Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and HHS declined to disclose to Fox News how much it spends on beds in convention centers in San Diego, Houston and Dallas.