Hundreds of people are expected to be placed in hotels in El Paso, Texas, and Chandler, Arizona, this Friday as the Biden administration spends tens of millions of dollars to house people despite having its own holding centers, according to internal documents reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
The Biden administration faces a growing problem at the border, where more people are coming across than during the 2019 humanitarian crisis. U.S. authorities had been returning all children, families, and adults to Mexico since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last March, but a change in Mexican law has blocked the return of families with young children who come into the U.S. through South Texas.
The Department of Homeland Security’s ICE agency is calling each hotel that will house migrants as a “casa,” the Spanish word for house. The agency will shuffle 600 people into hotels in El Paso, Texas, and Chandler, Arizona, as part of phase one, which starts this Friday. Phase two will commence April 30, and 600 beds will be made available in Pecos, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Cotulla, Texas.
On Friday, families will be moved into a Best Western in El Paso, which ICE had dubbed “Casa Estrella” or “Star House." The hotel is making at least 186 beds available for families.
An additional 158 beds are available at the Comfort Inn, which will be referred to as the "Casa Consuelo," or House of Consolation.
The Department of Homeland Security has started administering rapid coronavirus tests on families released in other parts of Texas but has not revealed if families placed in hotels for unspecified durations of time will be tested before or during their stay.
"La Casa de la Luz," or House of Light, for the Holiday Inn will accept more than 200 people starting Friday. It is located 15 miles southeast of Phoenix in Chandler and has a large pool.
Starting April 30, 107 beds will be available for families brought to the WoodSpring Suites in Pecos, Texas. "La Casa de La Paz," or House of Peace, has in-room kitchens and living rooms rather than just bedrooms. Roll-out beds and cots are also being factored in the available beds at each hotel.
The Hilton brand's Hampton Inn, "Casa Esperanza" or House of Hope, and Wyndham's Microtel, "Casa de Compasion" or House of Compassion, in Cotulla will hold approximately 338 people combined.
Phoenix's Sure Stay Best Western motel rooms will hold 142 people as the "Casa de Alegria" or House of Joy. It is located close to the airport.
The Texas-based Family Endeavors organization in March received an $87 million contract to oversee the operation despite never having fulfilled a similar ICE contract in the past.