US awards immigration detention contracts in California

  • FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, the Adelanto U.S. Immigration and Enforcement Processing Center operated by GEO Group, Inc. (GEO), a Florida-based company specializing in privatized corrections, is viewed in Adelanto, Calif. The Trump administration has awarded four contracts worth billions of dollars to operate private immigration detention centers in California, less than two weeks before a new state law forbidding them takes effect.

    FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, the Adelanto U.S. Immigration and Enforcement Processing Center operated by GEO Group, Inc. (GEO), a Florida-based company specializing in privatized corrections, is viewed in Adelanto, Calif. The Trump administration has awarded four contracts worth billions of dollars to operate private immigration detention centers in California, less than two weeks before a new state law forbidding them takes effect. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, detainees talk on telephones at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, Calif. The Trump administration has awarded four contracts worth billions of dollars to operate private immigration detention centers in California, less than two weeks before a new state law forbidding them takes effect.

    FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, detainees talk on telephones at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, Calif. The Trump administration has awarded four contracts worth billions of dollars to operate private immigration detention centers in California, less than two weeks before a new state law forbidding them takes effect. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, detainees exercise at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, Calif. The Trump administration has awarded four contracts worth billions of dollars to operate private immigration detention centers in California, less than two weeks before a new state law forbidding them takes effect.

    FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, detainees exercise at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, Calif. The Trump administration has awarded four contracts worth billions of dollars to operate private immigration detention centers in California, less than two weeks before a new state law forbidding them takes effect. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/23/2019 6:30 PM

SAN DIEGO -- The Trump administration awarded billions of dollars in contracts for private companies to operate immigration detention centers in California -- less than two weeks before a new state law takes effect to prohibit them.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in October to ban contracts for for-profit prisons starting Jan. 1. Supporters hoped the law would force U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to look elsewhere after current contracts expire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A federal website posted long-term awards on Friday worth a combined $6.8 billion for detention facilities in San Diego, Calexico, Adelanto and Bakersfield. The sites will house about 4,000 detainees, with capacity to expand in the future.

ICE said the contracts were not subject to the new state law, deflecting criticism that the timing was meant to circumvent it.

Paige Hughes, an agency spokeswoman, said ICE believed the new contracts will limit transfers of detainees outside California, where they would be farther from family, friends and legal representatives.

'State laws aimed at obstructing federal law enforcement are inappropriate and harmful," Hughes said.

Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for Newsom, said Monday that ICE was trying to get around the law, which she called a historic step to address excessive incarceration, including detention of immigrants and asylum-seekers.

'For-profit prisons, including ICE-contracted facilities, run contrary to our values and have no place in California," Waters wrote in an email. ''This effort to circumvent California's authority and federal procurement rules that safeguard the American taxpayers must be addressed by congressional oversight.'

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A state Senate analysis of Assembly Bill 32 said the Trump administration would likely sue to block the law, partly by arguing that is is preempted by federal immigration law. The analysis predicted the state would prevail in court.

The GEO Group Inc. won two five-year extensions - one to operate the detention center in Adelanto, with capacity for 2,690 beds, and another to run the facility in Bakersfield, with capacity for 1,800 beds. The two contracts are worth more than $3.7 billion,

GEO said Monday the contracts would provide more than $200 million in annual revenue and 1,200 jobs.

CoreCivic Inc. won an extension worth $2.1 billion to operate an immigration detention center in San Diego, with capacity for 1,994 beds. Management & Training Corp. won a contract for $679 million to operate a facility in Calexico with capacity for 704 beds.

California, with its large immigrant populations and border with Mexico, is a major priority for ICE, which has found itself increasingly unwelcome under state laws. As the number of ICE detainees nationwide topped 56,000 earlier this year, the agency held more people in central Louisiana.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.