The Department of Homeland Security wants to rent more space in jails in Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, and Utah, to hold more illegal immigrants before their repatriation, according to a federal request to companies.
The request for jail space was posted on a federal contracting website, saying:
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) to identify multiple possible detention sites to hold criminal aliens and other immigration violators in support of its public safety mission under the authority of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. These sites will be located in the greater Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, and Salt Lake City areas. Each site must be capable of providing detention, medical, and transportation services, including the physical structures, equipment, personnel, and vehicles. Detention sites must be properly staffed to maintain a safe and secure environment.
The request has been expected because the department has already announced it wants to increase the total number of people that can be held while being processed for repatriation. This year, department ask Congers to provide $1.2 billion in 2018 so that it can hold up to 48,000 illegals, foreign criminals and migrants per day.
According to USA Today:
From Jan. 22 through Sept. 9, the agency arrested 97,482 people suspected of being in the country illegally, a 43% increase over the same time period in 2016 under President Barack Obama, according to the latest ICE figures.
During the same span, ICE arrested 28,011 undocumented immigrants without a criminal record, a 179% increase from the same period in 2016, when the Obama administration mainly went after those who committed serious offenses.
Currently, ICE houses anywhere between 31,000 and 41,000 detainees each day in federal prisons, privately-operated facilities and local jails.
The problem is made by worse by a wave of migrants who claim asylum.
Under 1997 rules set by a court, border agents are still letting migrants with children into the United States if they claim a “credible fear” of being sent home. Many adults have to be let go into the United States because the federal government does not have enough detention space to hold people before their asylum hearings.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Senators on October 18 that:
In 2011, we had a backlog of immigration cases of 300,000. It’s now over 600,000.
[Also] 5,000 people in 2009 who were apprehended at the border claim they should not be deported because they have a fear of being sent back home. Last year, it increased from 5,000 to 94,000. And those people are basically entitled to hearings.
And this is a [credible fear] loophole that’s too big, and we need to create some sort of control over it. We are looking at if there are any things that we can do effectively, short of legislation … We are adding [asylum] judges. We’ve added, I think, 50 already. We’ll have another 40 by January. And the backlog, instead of going up, will be going down. And we’ll continue to work at that, but legislation is critical.
The DHS announcement will likely be opposed by pro-immigration activists and Democratic legislators. During Obama’s terms, the activists worked with officials to end government contracts with the companies that own jails, so making it more difficult for the federal government to hold illegals before repatriation.