Homeland Republicans Deepen Investigation into Suspect Contracts, Anti-Enforcement Senior Officials at ICE as Border Crisis Rages
October 8, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability, today released two letters documenting the Committee’s deepening investigation into suspicious contracts awarded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that were facilitated by current ICE official Claire Trickler-McNulty and her former colleague, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait.
In August, Lorenzen-Strait admitted on camera that he used his previous connections with President Joe Biden’s 2020 transition team to help facilitate sole-source, no-bid contracts to the non-profit group Endeavors—for which Lorenzen-Strait went to work in January 2021 as senior director for migrant services and federal affairs—to provide services to illegal aliens. Despite having no experience as lead contractor for such shelter services, Endeavors ultimately received more than $600 million in contracts from the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS). Lorenzen-Strait later left the organization in September 2022.
Ms. Trickler-McNulty is the current ICE official in charge of approving or terminating contracts involving new alien detention facilities and Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs, and she has prior professional relationships with anti-enforcement groups. Chairmen Green and Bishop are demanding answers from Mr. Lorenzen-Strait and were joined by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement, in demanding answers from Acting ICE Director Patrick J. Lechleitner on these concerning reports of impropriety and suspected anti-enforcement bias at senior levels in the agency.
Read more in the Daily Mail.
In the letter to Mr. Lorenzen-Strait, the Chairmen state, “On August 8, 2023, journalists with Project Veritas released a video of you boasting about your participation in government contracts related to migrant services. Specifically, you refer to the Endeavors contract as a ‘corrupt bargain.’ You further discuss ‘brokering’ a deal that won Cherokee Federal, a team of tribally owned federal contracting companies, a nearly $2 billion contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide services to unaccompanied alien children. In the video, you admit that Cherokee Federal is not equipped to handle the contract. … The Committee is also aware that your former colleague at ICE, Ms. Claire Trickler-McNulty, is now the Assistant Director of the Office of Immigration Program Evaluation. In her position, Ms. Trickler-McNulty reviews and approves all contracts involving new detention facilities and Alternatives to Detention programs or decisions to terminate those contracts. … To assist the Committee’s investigation of potential conflicts of interest in ICE contracts for migrant services, please provide as soon as possible[.]”
In the letter to Acting ICE Director Patrick J. Lechleitner, the Chairmen state, “According to a recent media report, contracts relating to detention and Alternatives to Detention (ATD) require ICE’s Office of Immigration Program Evaluation (OIPE) approval. OIPE is led by Ms. Claire Trickler- McNulty, a political appointee who previously worked on the Biden-Harris transition team and is part of ICE’s Office of the Director with focus on policies and reforms related to immigration enforcement and supervision, including the ATD program. … Ms. Trickler-McNulty has no law enforcement experience, and, according to Committee sources, manages OIPE remotely while not living in the Washington, D.C. area. Prior to her role in OIPE, Ms. Trickler-McNulty was Deputy Director for Legal Services at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit organization which previously demanded that the Department of Homeland Security cease all deportations and affiliated with an ‘Abolish ICE’ organization during her tenure. … The Committee is also concerned that Ms. Trickler-McNulty’s history and relationships may undermine ICE’s enforcement mission.”
These two letters follow continued oversight by the Committee of suspect ICE contracts for illegal alien services as the Southwest border crisis remains at historic levels under this administration. This oversight investigation comes amid record-low ICE enforcement by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and the Committee is diving in even deeper on how the Biden administration has effectively changed ICE as an agency through these, as Mr. Lorenzo-Straight put it himself, “corrupt bargains.” More broadly, the Committee is demanding answers as to whether these efforts are affecting ICE’s mission, detention and removal of illegal aliens, and enforcement of U.S. immigration law. As detailed in Homeland Republicans’ oversight investigation into Secretary Mayorkas, ICE’s Non-Detained Docket has grown by nearly two million just since FY20, and CBP has recorded nearly 1.6 million known gotaways at the Southwest border since Biden took office.