If you haven’t been reminded recently enough of how utterly evil this government is, buckle up: defense and security contractors are bringing in millions off of the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
The Daily Beast reports:
Those contractors—including one with a history of scandals—have advertised a flurry of jobs in recent weeks to support the infrastructure surrounding undocumented children whom the Trump administration has taken from their families.
One of them, from Virginia-based MVM Inc., seeks a compliance coordinator to help in San Antonio with the “rapid deployment of an Emergency Influx Shelter for unaccompanied children.” As billed, the coordinator would ensure the children’s shelter met “policies and procedures” set by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. MVM posted the job on its website this week.
MVM bills itself as having “extensive domain expertise in counter-narcotics, criminal and civil investigations, public safety, and national security.” It’s perhaps better known as a security contractor for U.S. intelligence.
The Daily Beast reports that MVM was awarded a federal contract worth $8 million over the next five years to “provide assistance in emergency shelter operations for unaccompanied children.” In addition, MVM has made an astonishing $42.9 million since last September off of a contract with ICE to transport undocumented children around McAllen, TX.
MVM’s website lists a slew of government agencies it works with, including Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, FEMA, the Bureau of Prisons, and the U.S. Army. Here’s some of the incredible work that they’ve done in the past:
In 2008, MVM lost a lucrative contract with the Central Intelligence Agency in Iraq for, the Wall Street Journal reported, “failing to provide enough armed guards.” It also faced internal allegations that its guards in Iraq, which worked for both the CIA and the National Security Agency, “were procuring and possessing unauthorized weapons and explosives,” according to a since-dismissed lawsuit from an Army Special Forces veteran employee who unsuccessfully claimed wrongful termination after blowing the whistle.
More recently, in July 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued MVM after finding that the firm retaliated against one of its security guards, a practicing Muslim, by forcing him to shave his beard after he reported a supervisor called him a “n**ga.” The company settled the casemonths later for $135,000. And it hasn’t been the only recent example of what the EEOC has considered discrimination.
“I’d point out that the recent allegations you mention of discrimination and harassment have been found through investigations and arbitration to be without merit,” MVM spokesperson Joe Arabit told the Daily Beast.
When the site asked Arabit if it was appropriate for a security contractor who managed to lose a CIA contract in Iraq during the Bush administration (no small feat) to be carrying out contract work with extremely vulnerable children, the spokesman said that the company’s “top priority is the welfare of children while they are in our care.”
“We are a trusted partner of ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and ORR [Office of Refugee Resettlement] because of the respect and dedication with which we treat those whom we transport,” he added. Considering what we know about ICE as well as the ORR under Scott Lloyd, that’s not a good thing. It’s very bad, actually.
In addition to MVM, the Daily Beast reports that defense behemoth General Dynamics—which has been contracted by ORR since 2010 and took in the third-largest share of federal contracting dollars in FY 2017, making $15.3 billion off of government contracts—is hiring for several ORR-related positions. According to the Project on Government Oversight’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database, the company has been assessed over $280 million in misconduct penalties since 1995. (General Dynamics referred the Daily Beast to the Department of Health and Human Services for comment, which didn’t respond by their deadline.)
“I’m guessing that in [MVM’s] mission statement, one of the central components isn’t the care of refugee children,” immigration attorney Matthew Kolken told the Daily Beast. “It is mind-blowing that those types of industries would be even considered with respect to the care of children. They’re not equipped to be able to do it. Would you want your child to be dropped off in their hands? I know I wouldn’t.”