New Deal Sees Detention Facility Stay Open

The US government has reached a deal to ensure a 2,400-bed detention facility will remain open. The facility, used for the detention of immigrant mothers and their children, is in a small town in South Texas, and the deal is a lucrative one for the private prison company that operates it.

Last month, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed a contract with Dilley, where the South Texas Family Residential Center, the largest facility of its type in the US, became operational in 2014. It simultaneously signed a contract with private prison operator, CoreCivic. Both contracts were released to the Associated Press last week following an open records request.

ICE said the move was to replace an arrangement made under the President Barack Obama administration, which the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security had criticized earlier this year for wasting money and having violated budget guidelines. But, the new arrangement appears to have many of the features that the Inspector General criticized.

Although Eloy ran the facility, ICE money was routed to CoreCivic, ICE allegedly modified the Eloy contract and should have avoided the creation of a middleman, reaching a direct agreement with the company in charge of the facility instead. Nina Pruneda, an ICE spokeswoman, said that the agreement was in response to such concerns, though critics say the arrangement still allows the facility to operate sans public scrutiny.