ICE is attempting to lock-in detention contracts ahead of the election

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Washington, DC — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has doubled-down on its efforts to lock-in contracts for the immigration detention system for years to come by posting four new Requests for Information (RFI) proposals for immigration jails. The RFI’s were posted for the following Areas of Responsibility (AORs) or regions:

  • Denver, CO: A facility with the capacity of 1360 beds, likely for the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, operated by the GEO Group.
  • New York, NY: A facility with the capacity of 900 beds. 
  • Newark, NJ: A facility with the capacity of 900 beds.
  • Miami, FL: A facility with the capacity of 700 beds for the Broward Transitional Center, operated by the GEO Group.

“These RFIs are for Contract Detention Facilities (CDFs), meaning ICE contracts directly with private prison corporations that own and operate the detention centers,” said Luis Suarez, Field Advocacy Manager at Detention Watch Network. “Due to ICE’s lack of transparency it is not clear which facilities these RFIs will apply towards, however, this move clearly indicates ICE is increasingly privatizing the detention system.”

Eighty-one percent of people in ICE custody are detained in facilities owned or operated by private prison corporations — a record high under the Trump administration. In August, ICE awarded 10-year contracts to private prison corporations to operate two notorious Texas detention centers — CoreCivic’s T. Don Hutto Detention Center and GEO Group’s South Texas Detention Complex. 

“The new RFI’s mirror the same tactics ICE and private prison corporations used to secure the decade-long contracts in Texas that evaded procurement law and completely disregarded community opposition to the detention centers,” added Suarez. “The ongoing calls to abolish detention continue to grow as people across the country know that people do not need to be stripped of their freedom and dignity as they navigate their immigration case.”

The deadline for the Denver area and Newark area RFIs are Friday, while the Miami area RFI expired on September 30.

Immigrant rights advocates in the New York and New Jersey area issued the following statements:

Serges Demefack, End Detention and Deportation Project Coordinator at American Friends Service Committee in New Jersey, said:

“DHS renewed interest to expand detention centers during a pandemic underscores ICE’s cruelty. In New Jersey, we have seen numerous hunger strikes of people bravely demanding to be released and exposing ICE’s egregious conditions that only worsen in times of crisis. Moreover, ICE accountability record remains abysmal; just recently, ICE systematically withheld information on the impact of COVID-19 on people in detention and has yet to fully address its lack of oversight as recommended by recent OIG reports more than a year ago. One more immigration facility anywhere in the country is one too many.”

Donald Anthonyson, Director at Families for Freedom in New York, said:

“It is quite disingenuous for ICE to be seeking to increase their detention capacity when a closer look at their own statistics show that they have been deporting more people, which should have led to a decreased need for detention beds. Adding close to 4,000 beds makes no sense unless someone is planning to make dollars caging people. Given ICE’s dismal record of holding private contactors accountable for the mistreatment of people in the care as well as ICE’s own disregard for the basic human rights of those detained, these RFIs are seriously troubling.”


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.