Blog: Report Shows Americans are Paying for the Southern Border Disaster in Display of Government Abuse

July 21, 2021

By John A. Zadrozny and Emily Tubb

Since taking office, the Biden Administration has intentionally manufactured a disaster at our southern border and debilitated American security. On January 20, 2021, the issuance of Presidential Proclamation 10142 halted all construction of the southern border wall, proliferating the Administration’s “all are welcome” message, which has resulted in more than 1.1 million illegal border crossings this fiscal year. But a recent report shows that these decisions have other consequences that continue to afflict American taxpayers.

Today, Ranking Member James Lankford (R-OK) and the minority staff on the Senate Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management released an interim report detailing seven Department of Defense (DoD) contracts and the waste caused by the issuance of Biden’s proclamation. In it, they found between $1.84 and $2.09 billion taxpayer dollars have been misused since January 20, resulting in the loss of more than $3 million per day, or 20 percent of all congressionally allocated DoD funding for the border wall.

Below are some highlights of the report, though it can be read in its entirety here:

• The true cost of the waste from these contracts is likely much higher than the estimated $3 million per day. In fact, the report details that the initial losses on these contracts were around $6 million per day, but that per diem losses were depressed only by laying off contracted employees. Despite this, these losses are expected to rise for the next 12 to 18 months as the Biden Administration engages in costly attempts to terminate these contracts. In the meantime, these contractors are being paid for “make safe and site security” projects as Senator Lankford previously noted.

• Department of Homeland Security subcontractors engaged in these contracts have been negatively affected by this as well indicating further hostility to American workers and businesses by the Biden Administration. Some of these subcontractors are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars due to fixed costs and investments they are unable to sell off, despite reports that the contractors themselves have been paid. This has resulted in subcontractors nearing insolvency as they continue to accrue losses due to requirements to remain on standby while the contract remains active. This may result in the subcontractor going out of business altogether, making it a desirable option for some companies to break their contracts at the risk of government lawsuits.

This is just one aspect of the border disaster. Other estimates from April have shown that it costs $60 million per week to provide services to unaccompanied alien children, millions in GPS tracking devices for aliens released from custody, and at least $86 million to pay for hotel rooms for these foreign nationals.

As an estimated 1.7 million people are on track to enter the country illegally this year, these costs are likely to increase. Data from just 2 months ago in May showed that of the aliens given Notices to Report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and subsequently released into the country only showed up between 18-23 percent of the time. Since then, this number has dropped to 16 percent. This will inevitably result in long-term consequences for the American people, which could easily have been prevented through the completion of a strong southern border wall.

John A. Zadrozny serves as Director, Center for Homeland Security and Immigration for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) and Emily Tubb serves as a Policy Analyst for AFPI.