Weh, weh, weh, all the way home.
Trump had at times privately talked about “fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh.”
Additionally, after aides told him that his public suggestion of soldiers shooting migrants if they threw rocks was illegal, he backed down. But, he later suggested that they “shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down.”
“That’s not allowed either, (staff) told him,” according to the excerpt.
…The comments came around the same time [that Trump] publicly threatened to close the border, saying he would if “Mexico doesn’t get with it.” [He] later backed off from that threat.
“The United States is the country in the world that detains the most children for immigration reasons, and probably for the longest period of time. No other country comes close,” said Michael Bochenek, a Human Rights Watch attorney who serves on a United Nations research team examining the global detention of children. “To have private companies move into the area of the care and custody of children in detention-like settings is especially troubling.”
…Nonprofit providers, however, have faced criticism of their own. Earlier this year, a review of 38 legal claims obtained by the AP — some of which have never been made public — showed taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who said their children were harmed while under care from nonprofit foster providers and other shelters.
…The Trump administration has started shifting some of the caretaking of migrant children toward the private sector and contractors instead of the largely religious-based nonprofit grantees that have long cared for the kids.
So far, the only private company caring for migrant children is CHS, owned by beltway contractor Caliburn International Corp. In June, CHS held more than 20% of all migrant children in government custody. And even as the number of children has declined, the company’s government funding for their care has continued to flow. That’s partly because CHS is still staffing a large Florida facility with 2,000 workers even though the last children left in August.
…DC Capital Partners bought CHS, a company with a troubled past. The firm agreed in 2017 to pay out $3.8 million to settle an investigation involving allegations that it double billed and overcharged the federal government for medical services.
Despite the fraud settlement, CHS went on to win a no-bid contract to operate Homestead. At the time, federal officials said they didn’t have to open the bidding to competitors, typically the way taxpayer dollars are spent, because there was “unusual and compelling urgency.”
…No-bid contracts can lead to higher costs. CHS, a contractor, typically hires locally, staffing up as quickly as it can, hiring hundreds of people through online ads and at community job fairs. In contrast, nonprofits typically are paid through grants. They have screened staffers on call, who can be flown in if a shelter needs to care for a sudden increase of children for a short period.
…Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly joined Caliburn’s board this spring after stepping down from decades of government service; he joined the Trump administration as Secretary of Homeland Security, where he backed the idea of taking children from their parents at the border, saying it would discourage people from trying to immigrate or seek asylum.
Critics say this means Kelly now stands to financially benefit from a policy he helped create.
…Kelly and other corporate directors including Retired Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis and Retired Rear Admiral Kathleen Martin could have received at least $100,000 a year for their service and advice, and a $200,000 bonus if the company went public.
…CHS’s business plan going forward depends on having more kids in their shelters, according to a prospectus its parent company Caliburn filed last year to go public with a $100 million stock offering.
…Overall, the federal government spent a record $3.5 billion caring for migrant children over the past two years to run its shelters through both contracts and grants.
…The government doesn’t disclose the names of individual shelters, nor how many children are in each one. But confidential government data obtained by the AP shows that in June nearly one in four migrant children in government care was housed by CHS. That included more than 2,300 teens at Homestead, Florida, and more than 500 kids in shelters in Brownsville, Los Fresnos and San Benito, Texas. For each teen held at Homestead at that time, it cost taxpayers an average $775 per day.