ICE ignores ban in California on private immigrant detention centers: report

 ICE ignores ban in California on private immigrant detention centers: report
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) posted a request for offers for new private migrant detention centers in California five days after the state passed a law banning private facilities, The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. 

ICE posted the solicitation on the Federal Business Opportunities website five days after Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia races to get ahead of another bad fire season Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez highlight vaccine concert California lifting restrictions on in-person worship MORE (D) signed a bill banning the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from starting or renewing contracts with private prison companies after this year ends.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback Scalise carries a milk carton saying Harris is 'missing' at the border Harris to visit Mexico and Guatemala 'soon' MORE (D-Calif.), who is running for president, accused the agency of "rushing" the contracts before the ban becomes effective. 


“Let’s be clear: By rushing through new contracts before California’s ban takes effect, ICE is violating the spirit of California law and risks wasting taxpayer dollars in an attempt to lock away even more human beings,” Harris told the L.A. Times. “We need to fight back.”

ICE spokesperson Paige Hughes told The Hill in a statement on Tuesday that the agency "remains compliant with federal contract and acquisition regulations as we advertise opportunity notices and subsequently implement the decision process."

Hughes noted that the date for awarding the contract had not yet been determined. 

She also said the agency's legal experts were reviewing the bill signed by Newsom. 

"The idea that a state law can bind the hands of a federal law enforcement agency managing a national network of detention facilities is wrong," Hughes said. "In this situation, ICE will likely have to transfer individuals a greater distance from their arrest location to where they’d be detained. Thus, the only impact would be felt by the residents of California who would be forced to travel greater distances to visit friends and family in custody. "

"Policy makers who strive to make it more difficult to remove dangerous criminal aliens and aim to stop the cooperation of local officials and business partners, harm the very communities whose welfare they have sworn to protect," she added. 

“The agency utilizes a vast and varied system of detention bed space to house detainees, and is continually reviewing its detention requirements and exploring options that will afford ICE the operational flexibility needed to house the full range of detainees in the agency’s custody,” spokeswoman Lori Haley told the newspaper. 

The paper reported that of the  49,000 people currently in ICE custody, about 8 percent are detained in California.