Updated 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has signed new long-term contracts with three private prison companies to operate — and expand — immigration detention in California. The deals, which were published on a federal procurement website late Friday evening, come just days before a new state law takes effect, outlawing for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities.
The ICE contracts total $6.5 billion and extend for as long as 15 years, much longer than typical immigration detention agreements. The three companies currently run four California detention centers for ICE, with a combined total of roughly 5,200 beds.
The full text of the new contracts was not publicly accessible, but here’s what we know. ICE entered into deals for “security guards and patrol services” as follows:
- $679 million with Management & Training Corp., for a facility in Calexico, where the company currently operates the Imperial Regional Detention Center;
- $2.1 billion with Core Civic, Inc., for a facility in San Diego, where the company currently operates the Otay Mesa Detention Center;
- $2.1 billion with GEO Group, Inc., for a facility in Adelanto (San Bernardino County), where the company currently operates the Adelanto ICE Processing Center;
- $1.6 billion with GEO Group, Inc., for a facility in Bakersfield, where the company currently operates the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center.
In addition, GEO Group’s contracts incorporate the use of three other California prisons it owns, according to a press release the company issued Monday announcing its contracts. Those facilities — two in the Central Valley town of McFarland and another in Adelanto — will add an additional 2,150 beds “as facility annexes,” the statement said.
“We’re pleased to have been able to build on our long-standing partnership with ICE to help the agency meet its need for processing center beds in California, which comply with the Federal government’s performance-based national detention standards,” said George C. Zoley, GEO’s chairman and CEO, according to the press statement.
The company said it expects the contracts to generate more than $200 million a year in revenue and support more than 1,200 jobs.
News of the contracts come just days before a new state law takes effect, aimed at phasing out for-profit prisons and detention centers, federal authorities could enter into multi-million dollar contracts with private companies to continue jailing thousands of immigrants in California.
The new California law, AB 32, is set to take effect Jan. 1.
California immigrant advocates said ICE is violating the spirit of that law and called on state officials to take action to block the deals.
"These multi-billion dollar contracts represent the corrupt and illicit partnership between ICE, a rogue agency that feels it is above the law, and private corporations with a business model centered on locking up immigrants and people of color,” said Jackie Gonzalez, policy director for Immigrant Defense Advocates. “They have no place in California."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office declined to comment on whether the attorney general was considering taking action.