Tuesday, February 27, 2024

ICE to extend immigration detention center contract

A San Bernardino County immigration detention center at risk of permanent closure will remain open until mid-June, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Wednesday.

In a statement, ICE spokeswoman Jenny Burke said the extension “provides additional time for a resolution of the ongoing litigation preventing full use” of the ICE Processing Center in Adelanto.

“The location and availability of the detention facility directly affects the agency’s ability to remove persons from their countries of origin, enforce immigration law in the interior of the country, and detain threats to public safety or national security.”,” Burke said. .

The center was originally scheduled to close a week before Christmas, but last month, ICE extended the contract until mid-February. About 350 unionized workers at the facility are urging the agency to find a way to keep it open, while advocates for detained immigrants welcome the potential closure.

Adelanto, which is managed by Florida-based private prison contractor GEO Group, has a capacity of 1,940 but currently houses few inmates. Its population plummeted in 2020 after a COVID-19 outbreak led the ACLU Foundation of Southern California to sue, and a federal judge ordered the release of inmates and a halt to new admissions.

Three years later, that order still stands.

The center was originally scheduled to close a week before Christmas, but last month, ICE extended the contract until mid-February. About 350 unionized workers at the facility are urging the agency to find a way to keep it open, while advocates for detained immigrants welcome the potential closure.

Adelanto, which is managed by Florida-based private prison contractor GEO Group, has a capacity of 1,940 but currently houses few inmates. Its population plummeted in 2020 after a COVID-19 outbreak led the ACLU Foundation of Southern California to sue, and a federal judge ordered the release of inmates and a halt to new admissions.

Three years later, that order still stands.

A GEO Group spokeswoman declined to comment.

ICE guarantees it will pay contractors for a minimum number of beds, whether they are filled or not. Supporters and opponents of the center have called it a waste of taxpayer money to keep Adelanto staffed and operating while handling only a handful of inmates.

Adelanto, one of California’s largest immigration detention centers, is being investigated by government watchdogs for health and safety violations, including disciplinary segregation and detainee exposure to toxic chemicals.

If it closes, six other private centers will continue to operate in the state.

World Nation News Desk
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