The nation’s largest immigrant detention facility was procured improperly, according to a watchdog report, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2014 using an existing agreement with a town in Arizona as a vehicle to establish the center 900 miles away in Texas.
Since 2014, ICE has spent $438,000 annually for Eloy, Ariz., to serve solely as a middleman for a 2,400-bed detention facility in Dilley, Texas, according to the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general. The agency first contracted with the city of Eloy in 2006 to establish the Eloy Detention Center, which the city subcontracted to a company called CCA. ICE reached the agreement with Eloy through a process known as an intergovernmental service agreement, or IGSA.
After an influx of unaccompanied minors and families illegally crossed the border in 2014, ICE looked to boost its detention capacity in south Texas. The agency asked CCA and another contractor to submit proposals for a facility, but only CCA responded. The contractor negotiated directly with ICE on the provisions of the agreement. Rather than create a new contract, ICE went to the city of Eloy and requested that it modify its IGSA to enable CCA to run the South Texas Family Residential Center. The Eloy City Council gave its consent, and the agreement was altered. The provision was set to expire in October 2016, but ICE extended it until 2021.
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