Department of Homeland Security spending millions to build homes for border agents in Ajo

AJO, AZ - The Department of Homeland Security must explain by Tuesday why they spent nearly 13 million dollars to build 21 homes for Border Patrol agents in Ajo, Arizona.

That's more than $300,000 dollars a unit, well above the $100,000 dollar average for a home in Ajo.

"At the very best, it was a waste of government money and I think something was fishy about the whole deal," said Linda Sharp who is against the Border Patrol housing project.

A wife of a Border Patrol agent who didn't want to be identified told ABC15 she decided to move her family to Ajo from Maricopa so her husband could spend more time with the family.

"Sometimes when he would get held up at work, he would just stay in Ajo because he would be too tired to make the drive home."

According to the agency, more than 70 percent of their agents spend nearly two hours going to and from work.

"We know a lot of agents who have wanted to be closer for a long time. They look and they look and they don't find anything where they feel safe. And when these homes were built, it was a light at the end of the tunnel," said the agent's wife.

These homes will provide safety and security for families at the tune of $340,000 a unit. That cost factors in water, sewer, electric lines, roads and 25 additional units.

There are 150 homes up for sale in Ajo and many in the community are wondering why the government didn't buy those homes for Border Patrol agents.

In a report, the government stated most homes in Ajo don't meet government standards.

"Excuse me, I'm a middle class person and there are plenty of middle class people living in Ajo that take good care of their homes. So that's a pretty big insult," said Sharp.

The Department of Homeland Security has until Tuesday to give lawmakers a detailed report as to why this project costs so much.

Officials say there is a Phase II which would add 25 more homes. Agents will pay anywhere between $900 and $1,100 a month to rent the homes.

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