Immigration and Customs Enforcement improperly crafted a deal with the city of Eloy, Arizona to establish a residential center in Dilley, Texas. Using Eloy as the middleman for the deal, ICE cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a recent federal audit.
No middleman was needed, the audit said.
“Although ICE could have contracted directly with the private company that operates the South Texas Family Residential Center, CCA, it instead created an unnecessary “middleman” by modifying its existing [agreement] with Eloy,” according to the audit. “Eloy’s sole function under the modification is to act as the middleman between ICE and CCA; Eloy collects about $438,000 in annual fees for this service.”
Also from the audit: “ICE may have overpaid for detention services at the South Texas Family Residential Center, as well as other detention facilities. Moreover, ICE has no assurance that it executed detention center contracts in the best interest of the Federal Government, taxpayers, or detainees.”
The Dilley facility is a 2,400 bed residential center. More residential facilities were urgently needed by ICE in 2014, when a surge of families and unaccompanied minors poured over the Southwest border, including thousands in Texas.
But the original agreement called for Eloy to operate a detention facility that housed adults — but the South Texas detention center ended up housing children, too.
“We believe that the care of children and families included in the modification is substantially different,” the audit reads.
The Texas Family Residential Center is now the largest ICE detention facility in the Nation.
As of September 2016, ICE paid about $261 million to house families and unaccompanied minors in the South Texas facility.
Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119