United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is considering building more immigration detention centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, even though the number of immigrant detainees has considerably decreased in these areas (primarily due to the pandemic). ICE is looking for detention sites that can house up to 900 detainees within a 60-mile radius of its New York City, Newark, or Philadelphia field offices.
Request for Information
ICE issued a “Request for Information” (RFI) that noted that the new facilities must have 900 low, medium-low-, medium-high-, and high-security beds for 850 male and 50 female immigrant detainees. Facilities must be “capable of providing detention, medical, and armed transport services, including the physical structures’ equipment, personnel, and vehicles,” the RFI says.
The RFI for New Jersey states, “the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is issuing this RFI to identify 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. The site will be in New Jersey or in Pennsylvania within a 60-mile ground commute from the field office.”
The RFI is meant to obtain market information, and it is not a request for a proposal, which is a document that solicits proposals, mostly through a bidding process. Responses to the RFI will not be considered as offers and cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding contract.
This news causes concern to many immigrant advocates in New Jersey, who have spent years lobbying to end the existence of agreements to house federal immigration detainees at a private facility in Elizabeth, and at jails in Bergen, Hudson, and Essex counties in New Jersey and Orange County in New York.
ICE Detention Sites
ICE is a federal enforcement agency under the DHS. It takes responsibility for protecting the United States from cross-border crime and illegal immigration that is perceived as a threat to national security and public safety. ICE is responsible for the detention of individuals in removal proceedings and those who are amenable to removal from the United States. These detainees are housed in a variety of federal, state, local, and private facilities.
Currently, ICE has seven detention centers in New York, five centers in New Jersey, and four centers in Pennsylvania.