Taxpayers on Hook for Massive Empty Office Space

federal office“If you build they will come” was a magic and profitable strategy for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams. But when President Obama decided to construct a palatial amnesty processing center in Crystal City, Virginia, with hopes that illegal aliens would come, the result has proven costly for American taxpayers.

Immediately after declaring amnesty in November of 2014, President Obama instructed his administration to lease an 11-story, 280,000 square foot office building in the Virginia suburbs and hire 1,000 employees to begin processing applicants from millions of illegal aliens.

Never mind that neither the acquisition of space, nor the amnesty edict itself had congressional approval.

One problem though: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has now upheld an injunction which effectively stops the president’s plans.

While most of the employee job offers were put on hold or rescinded, taxpayers are still on the hook for $7.8 million in annual lease fees for a colossal complex that is mostly empty. But that’s not all. The Washington Post reports that, “the building required about $26 million in start-up costs including $2.7 million for workstation and desktop equipment.” Those are sunk costs and the lease fees are long-term.

FAIR Suggestion:  Given that immigration court backlogs have hit an all-time high of 445,000 cases that are overwhelming 233 judges in 58 courts nationwide, perhaps a portion of Obama’s idle amnesty factory should be converted to accommodate more hearing rooms with newly hired judges. Effective enforcement and faster removals will reduce the backlogs and reduce the illegal alien population.

Since illegal immigration costs American taxpayers $113 billion a year, that $7.8 million a year building cost might just seem like a bargain if it’s used to remove and not reward those who have no legal right to reside in the U.S. 

Because ultimately, “if you enforce it, they won’t come.”


avatar About Bob Dane

Bob Dane, FAIR's executive director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.


  1. avatar Mjncad says:

    Turn it into a deportation factory.

  2. The Definition of Assume

    Is a well known joke and this time the $7.8M joke is on the tax payers.

  3. avatar Kyle says:

    BO proved his spinelessness and payback mentality, for those who objected to his budget with forced sequestration. So don’t expect him to utilize that office space in VA any time soon, knowing those ignorant and wasteful habits he possess. He’d rather gouge U.S. taxpayers like he’s done from day one, with his continued incompetence, personal extravagance, and most likely, numerous occasions he’s violated the Antideficiency Act with his warp minded belief of his imperial presidency.