Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement is urging the Justice Department to reopen at least two privatized facilities to help house an influx of illegal immigrants.
ICE says it needs up to 5,000 beds to house a record number of immigrants being detained and deported by the Obama administration, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Among consideration are at least three privately owned detention centers, including troubled facilities in Youngstown, Ohio, and Cibola County, New Mexico.
The Justice Department has sought to curtail its use of private prison because of an inspector general’s report that found higher rates of safety and security incidents.
“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates wrote in a memo to federal officials. “This is the first step in the process of reducing – and ultimately ending – our use of privately operated prisons.”
ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea declined to comment on negotiations with the Justice Department.
“ICE remains committed to providing a safe and humane environment for all those in its custody,” Elzea says. “ICE’s civil detention system reduces transfers, maximizes access to counsel and visitation, promotes recreation, improves conditions of confinement and ensures quality medical, mental health and dental care.”