Though the Associated Press is covering "the waves of immigrant children crossing the border illegally" (AP's words), the wire service doesn't seem to believe the story is particularly important. As of 8:15 this morning ET, the situation had no presence on its "Big Story" page. The dominant "Big Story"? How made-up "scandals" and Democratic Party prosecutor-driven "criminal investigations" are hurting the potential 2016 presidential candidacies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey's Chris Christie.
There are four "non-Big" AP stories on the "wave" (here, here, here, and here). One of those stories reports that "The spike in border crossers - southern Texas is now the busiest border crossing in the country - prompted the Homeland Security Department earlier this year to start sending families to other parts of Texas and Arizona for processing before releasing them at local bus stops." Here's a reasonable question which the AP reporters seem uninterested in pursuing: Why did DHS request private help in responding to the influx — in January — indicating that it somehow knew that the wave was coming?
Here are excerpts from a federal posting requesting "information" from parties who might be able to provide such assistance. It was originally reported Thursday at Infowars, and its authenticity was confirmed with DHS by The Blaze on Friday shortly before noon (HT Conservative Wife via Weasel Zippers; some paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine):
Procurement Type: Request for Information (RFI)/Sources Sought
Title: Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has a continuing and mission critical responsibility for accepting custody of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) from U.S. Border Patrol and other Federal agencies and transporting these juveniles to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters located throughout the continental United States. ICE is seeking the services of a responsible vendor that shares the philosophy of treating all UAC with dignity and respect, while adhering to standard operating procedures and policies that allow for an effective, efficient, and incident free transport.
The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year. Transport will be required for either category of UAC or individual juveniles, to include both male and female juveniles. There will be approximately 65,000 UAC in total: 25% local ground transport, 25% via ICE charter and 50% via commercial air.
Escort services include, but are not limited to, assisting with: transferring physical custody of UAC from DHS to Health and Human Services (HHS) care via ground or air methods of transportation (charter or commercial carrier), property inventory, providing juveniles with meals, drafting reports, generating transport documents, maintaining/stocking daily supplies, providing and issuing clothing as needed, coordinating with DHS and HHS staff, travel coordination, limited stationary guard services to accommodate for trip disruptions due to inclement weather, faulty equipment, or other exigent circumstances. In emergency situations, the Contractor shall be called on to provide temporary shelter locations (such as trailers) with shower facilities for juveniles who are pending placement with HHS when bed space is unavailable nationwide for extended periods of time. The Contractor shall provide temporary guard services and other support as necessary during these emergencies.
In addition, the Contractor shall have personnel who are able to communicate with juveniles in their own designated language(s). While this may not require each employee to be fluent in all of the encountered languages, personnel should have access to and knowledge of translation services.
... The Contractor shall follow a fully developed training curriculum and transporting staff shall have the highest level of competency possible. Areas of training shall include, but are not limited to the following: Airport rules and regulations for travelers, crisis intervention, child development, working with and transporting youth with special needs, transporting youth with behavioral problems, CPR & First Aid training, non-secured UAC policy and procedures and the implementation of contingency plans in the event of a crisis during transport, which include de-escalation techniques.
· Background Investigations and Suitability Screenings will be conducted on all Contract Employees by the Office of Professional Responsibility and Personnel Security Unit (OPR-OSU).
· The Contractor shall agree that each employee working on this contract will successfully pass the DHS Employment Eligibility (E-Verify) program operated by USICS to establish work authorization and U.S. Citizenship.
· Employees must reside in the United States.
C. Contract Type
The Government anticipates awarding a five (5) year Fixed Price Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle consisting of a one year base period, and four (4) option years. ...
The anticipated release date of the solicitation is March 3, 2014. The solicitation closing date will be thirty (30) days after release of the Request for Proposal (RFP).
Projected Set-Aside: All business sizes are welcome to participate; however, ICE is trying to determine small business interest, particularly HubZone companies. All information received in response in to this notice will be used to determine the appropriateness of any small business set-aside for this requirement.
D. Place of Performance:
Service Area: Throughout the Continental United States (US)
... For example, the following two circumstances may occur: (1) The contractor could initially provide transportation services only in the Southwest Region of the U.S. for those juveniles who are apprehended in the state of Texas; or, (2) The Contractor may be required to providetransportation services for all juveniles who are in DHS custody throughout the continental U.S.
... E. RFI Purpose/Requirements
The purpose of this RFI is to obtain market information and capabilities for planning purposes and to determine appropriate strategies to meet the Agency's requirements. This RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a commitment for an RFP in the future. Responses to this notice are not considered offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Responders are advised that the Government will not pay for any information or administrative cost incurred in response to this announcement and information submitted in response to this RFI will not be returned.
... F. Submissions and Point of Contact Information
Submit written or electronic submissions via email ... by 1:00pm EST on Monday, February 19, 2014.
Obvious questions: How did the government know to expect roughly 65,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children this year — a number which from what I can tell far exceeds any annual number seen previously? (Side question: If DHS is allowed to call such children "aliens," why won't the press?) How did the government know that half of them would need to be transported by air, presumably meaning far from the Texas border, to their ultimate destination? Why did it seem to know that these apprehensions would predominantly take place in Texas, and not Arizona or California?
Another obvious question: Why isn't the Obama adminstration's apparent foreknowledge of the illegal "wave" not news at the Associated Press, whose stories linked above all have Friday time stamps, or other establishment press outlets?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.