Immigrant detention center expanding in Southern California
July 9, 2014
U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) is adding beds to the largest immigrant detention center in Southern California. [LA Times]
The detention center in the high desert town of Adelanto, 40 miles north of San Bernardino, currently has the capacity to house 1,300 men. A construction project is underway that will add 650 beds, including a women’s housing unit.
ICE officials say that an increasing number of immigration arrests are occurring in the Los Angeles area. ICE tries to house the detainees near the areas of their arrests.
A Florida based company called the GEO Group runs the detention facility in Adelanto. GEO contracts with the city of Adelanto, which has an agreement with ICE to house the detainees.
Adelanto, which has an 18 percent unemployment rate and a $2.6 million budget deficit, earns 75 cents per day from GEO for every detention bed filled. City officials support the expansion of the facility because it would boost the city’s struggling economy.
“It takes an existing facility, expands it, and creates more jobs,” City Manager Jim Hart said. “That’s a financial benefit for the city.”
Adelanto is also home to a San Bernardino County jail and a state prison.
Immigrant advocacy groups oppose the detention center expansion. They say detainees receive poor quality food, inadequate health care and not enough time to work on their cases.
“Resources should go to help the children seeking asylum, not to grow private prisons,” said Luis Nolasco of the Justice for Immigrants coalition.