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Fact Check: Claims Compare Hotels for Illegal Migrants to National Guard Troops in Parking Garages
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Fact Check: Claims Compare Hotels for Illegal Migrants to National Guard Troops in Parking Garages

The Biden administration is indeed spending $86 million on emergency accommodations, but comparisons to National Guard troops in D.C. are misleading.

Viral Facebook posts claim that the Biden administration is paying $86 million to provide hotel rooms for illegal immigrants, several of them comparing this decision to the National Guards “sleep[ing] in garages” while protecting the Capitol after the January 6 attack on Congress.

The first aspect of the posts is accurate: Biden has tasked Immigration and Customs Enforcement with finding hotel rooms to temporarily house illegal immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border while they are processed for return to their home country. The southern border has seen a rapid increase in the number of families attempting to cross in the past few months, leaving authorities unprepared to deal with the large numbers of individuals who would ordinarily be housed in government facilities. A Texas nonprofit called Endeavors has received a six-month, $86 million contract to provide hotel rooms for ICE, a move that has some precedent: The Trump administration was found to have housed immigrants in hotels under emergency coronavirus orders.

While the first claim is correct, the comparison to National Guard troops’ sleeping situation is misleading: During their time in D.C., National Guard soldiers were provided with hotel rooms while off duty. Viral images showing them resting in garages depicted guardsmen who were on duty after they were controversially forced to leave the Capitol premises. The conditions in the garages in which they were stationed were poor, with few bathrooms and electric outlets, and the guardsmen were eventually allowed back into the Capitol complex while they were on duty.

The Biden administration has shelled out $86 million to provide hotel rooms for families that have crossed the border illegally. Comparisons to the living conditions of the National Guards who protected the Capitol in January, however, rely on already-debunked misinterpretations of viral images. 

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Alec Dent is a former culture editor and staff writer for The Dispatch.