Following a 43% year over year surge in illegal immigrant arrests between January 22, 2017 and September 9, 2017, the USA Today is reporting that the Trump administration is quietly reaching out to private prison operators with requests to house some 4,000 detainees of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).
The Trump administration is planning an increase in federal immigration jails across the country for the thousands of additional undocumented immigrants its agents are arresting.
In recent weeks, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has put out requests to identify privately-run jail sites in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and southern Texas, according to notices published on a federal contracting website. It did not publicly announce its plans to house 4,000 more detainees at the facilities.
The detention expansion would represent the latest step in President Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.
And here is an example of one Request for Information posted to FedBizOpps.gov for an "existing, renovation or new construction" facility in South Texas.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to identify one or more facilities (existing, renovation, or new construction) to be turnkey ready and able to provide housing, medical care, guard services, meals, and the day to day needs for approximately 1000 ICE adult male and adult female detainees within 50 ground-commute miles of Interstate 35. If utilizing multiple facilities, there may be no less than 200 beds per facility. The preference is for facilities to be dedicated for ICE detainees exclusively, but shared facilities may be considered. ICE anticipates issuing a single award, indefinite delivery - indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for this requirement.
This RFI is issued to identify potential sources that can provide the physical structure, equipment, personnel, and vehicles in a properly staffed and secure environment under the authority of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. The intent of this RFI is to obtain market information in accordance with FAR 15.201(e) for planning purposes and to determine appropriate strategies to meet the Agency's requirements. If the results of market research and other factors indicate that it is in the Government's best interest, ICE may release Requests for Proposals (RFP) for these potential requirements in the near future. However, this RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a commitment to an RFP in the future. Responses to this notice are not considered offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Responders are advised that the Government will not pay for any information or administrative cost incurred in response to this announcement and information submitted in response to this RFI will not be returned.
Currently, ICE houses anywhere between 31,000 and 41,000 detainees each day in federal prisons, privately-operated facilities and local jails.
Of course, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies said it's by no means a coincidence that 4 out of the 5 cities identified by the Trump administration for new detention facilities are in so-called "santuary cities" where local police forces have been instructed to not cooperate with federal ICE agents.
Trump supporters say the new jails are necessary to tackle an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which backs Trump's immigration enforcement, noted that four of the cities identified for new jails — Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul and Salt Lake City — are all "sanctuary cities."
One of the core disputes is that some cities refuse to detain undocumented immigrants in their local jails for federal immigration agents.
"ICE cannot rely on local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with them in holding deportable criminal aliens, so they have to acquire their own space that they control," Vaughan said. "This is very encouraging."
ICE still has a long way to go before it can open any facilities. The notices invite private companies to provide information on possible locations, and whether it would be necessary to build new facilities or renovate existing ones.
Meanwhile, reports of the new facilities was welcome news to shareholders of GEO Group, one of the largest private pension operators in the country, which has rallied over 60% since Trump's election and is one of the most likely recipients of any new awards.