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ICE to close Adelanto detention facility holding few migrants due to COVID-era court order: sources

exclusive: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to close a detention facility in Adelanto, California, which holds about 2,000 undocumented immigrant prisoners, but has remained largely empty for years due to a coronavirus-era court order. This was revealed by multiple sources. He spoke to FOX News Digital about this — just as the administration is asking the department to create more detention beds.

ICE issued an additional court order in September 2020 to privately run facilities following a lawsuit seeking to reduce the number of detainees due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which was nearing its peak at the time. They were prevented from sending many detainees.

But the order remains in place even though the COVID-19 state of emergency ended earlier this year and expanded capacity at similar facilities, including in the region. While it can house nearly 2,000 detainees, only a handful of immigrants live there.

Ice detention center has thousands of beds but only houses a handful of inmates: lawmaker

Rep. Jay Obanorte (R-Calif.) has led the charge to expand the facility’s intake and has called on both ICE and, more recently, the Department of Justice, “every means available” to lift the ban on more detainees. asked to pursue.

“At a time when our communities are suffering from historic levels of illegal immigration, our social services safety net and local law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed, and we are moving them to hotels, prisons, and other detention facilities.” “We are being forced to spend taxpayer dollars to house people in these facilities, and it is unacceptable that the Adelanto facility is so underutilized,” he said in a letter this week.

In a statement to FOX News Digital, ICE said it does not comment on “ongoing or pending litigation or the outcome thereof.”

A guard escorts an immigration detainee from a isolation cell back into the general population at the Adelanto Detention Center on November 15, 2013 in Adelanto, California.

“As part of our day-to-day strategic operations planning, ICE continually evaluates a variety of factors when considering whether to enter into a new contract for a facility or terminate an existing facility contract. “Consultations with detention providers, including state and local partners, are critical to ICE’s detention management mission and will occur regularly in 2019,” the spokesperson said.

“Significant agency changes/updates will be announced upon commencement of operations. ICE will ensure that noncitizens are treated humanely, protected from harm, provided with appropriate medical and psychological care, and that they are entitled to the rights they are entitled to.” “ICE is continually reviewing and enhancing its civil detention operations to ensure that people in its custody have access to safe, secure and humane detention services,” they said. We take our commitment to fostering a positive environment very seriously.”

The closure is expected to be imminent and is expected to affect the more than 300 employees currently working at the facility, officials said. The National Federation of Federal Employees recently warned of a “devastating” impact on workers if facilities close, especially before Christmas.

White House funding request includes $14 billion for border as crisis reaches new record

This is the Biden administration’s latest move to reduce the use of civilian immigrant detention facilities, which the then-candidate had promised to do in 2020. ICE will abolish family detention; Multiple facilities closedBut liberal civil rights groups have called for more closures, including dozens of groups that called for such a move in conjunction with cutting ICE funding last November.

However, in the face of an ongoing and historic immigration crisis at the southern border, the administration just recently asked Congress to “enable DHS to process more recent border crossers on an expedited schedule. is pleading with Congress for more funding, including thousands of additional ICE beds. Increase encounters and promptly remove people who have no legal basis to stay in the country. ”

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green called Adelanto’s move an “executive error.”

“Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden are asking Congress to fund new detention beds while also considering closing a state-of-the-art facility with nearly 2,000 beds,” he said. He said the administration’s calculations are “simply straightforward.” Not totaled. ”

“This just shows that the Biden administration’s talk on immigration enforcement is cheap. Its actions speak for themselves,” he said.

The chairman, who is investigating the Biden administration’s response to the immigration crisis, said that even if Congress gave money for beds, “they would not be used appropriately” and would instead be “funded by overcrowded Border Patrol facilities.” It will be used as capacity.” Rather than detaining or removing illegal immigrants. ”

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RJ Howman, director of the National Immigration Enforcement Center (NICE) and visiting adviser to the Heritage Foundation, said the impending closure was a “dereliction of duty” that put American society at risk and urged Republicans to take a tougher stance on immigration law. I urged him to take it. Negotiations over funding have become an issue.

“Millions of unvetted illegal immigrants are pouring across the border, and Joe Biden’s response is to close fully funded ICE detention facilities at the request of open border groups. ” he said. “Biden and [Mayorkas] Clearly not going to enforce the law – this reckless decision should be the final straw for Republicans toying with the idea of ​​additional funding and small policy changes. ”

In fiscal year 2024 alone, more than 2.4 million migrants were encountered at the southern border, and more than 240,000 were encountered in October. The entire administration is calling for $14 billion in additional funding for border operations, including fentanyl detection and migrant care, as well as asking Congress to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill the administration announced on its first day in office.

FOX News’ Bill Melgin contributed to this report.

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