The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or ICE wants additional detention centres that can house thousands of detainees as more immigrants are being rounded up for deportation.
ICE and the Department of Homeland Security are eyeing at least 5 possible cities as locations for the proposed detention centres. The cities identified by the ICE are Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul and cities in the Salt Lake City area. They are actively seeking information on the potential sites particularly on possible facilities, potential vendors and proposed locations.
The decision of the ICE to expand its operations did not go unnoticed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an estimated 13 legal service providers and various immigrants’ rights groups.
The organizations collaborated on a letter addressed to the ICE stating their objection to the establishment of the additional detention centres on the grounds that the creation of these buildings would further undermine civil rights and public safety. Additionally, it would be difficult to grant counsel for the detainees:
“We urge you to abandon plans to expand your existing network of jails and instead implement policies that utilize the discretion permitted you by law to reduce unnecessary detention, allowing the vast majority of people to reside in the community with their loved ones during their course of their removal proceedings.”
Lorella Praeli, Director of Immigration Policy and Campaigns for ACLU found ICE’s proposal for more detention centres very disturbing:
“The move represents further action by the Trump administration to target long-term residents, including the Dreamers, asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries, and other immigrant communities.”
The immigration issue was a cornerstone of President Trump’s campaign. In his first 100 days, Trump signed an Executive Order to increase immigration enforcement and tighten border security.
Since Trump took office, ICE has arrested an estimated 41,000 immigrants. Overall ICE arrests grew by 37.6% under the Trump administration.
For 2018, Trump’s budget plan seeks $1.2 Billion from Congress to purchase additional detention beds. The estimated average population of adults across all detention facilities is 48,000. By comparison, in 2017 the ICE detention centres had an average daily population of 38,000 detainees.