Biden Administration Kept Immigration Jails Despite Budget Concerns: Exclusive

In 2022, the Biden administration proposed closing or reducing the size of nine immigration detention facilities, aiming to save around $235 million. However, they terminated contracts with only two of these facilities. One of the for-profit detention centers, Torrance County Detention Facility in New Mexico, known for staffing shortages and safety concerns, was initially recommended for closure but was later excluded from the final memo dated September 1, 2022.

President Biden had promised immigration detention reform and phasing out for-profit involvement during his campaign. Still, officials argued that Torrance, due to its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and a surge in illegal border crossings in 2022, was essential.

ICE emphasized the Torrance facility’s significance and its commitment to humane treatment. CoreCivic, the company operating in Torrance, defended its operations.

ICE terminated contracts with two other underused facilities in Pennsylvania and California, citing high costs. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against ICE related to a suicide at Torrance, citing staffing and medical care issues.

The draft memo recommended renegotiating contracts for two other for-profit detention centers in California and Virginia due to excessive costs despite low detainee populations. An ICE official defended the utility of the Adelanto facility.

Source: Reuters