One of the contractors housing some of the surge of illegal immigrant children from this summer offers them a petting zoo with miniature ponies, a tilapia fish farm operation and guitar lessons, according to documents releasedThursday by a senator who questioned whether the plush accommodations were a good use of taxpayers’ money.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said it seemed excessive to pay the $329 that Southwest Key Programs, the contractor, charged per child per day at one of its California facilities in Lemon Grove, California. Another facility in El Cajon cost taxpayers $316 per child per day.

Mr. Grassley said it was particularly questionable to pay those high rates even as the White House came to Congress asking for more money to handle the surge of children earlier this year.

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