| WASHINGTON, Sept 23
WASHINGTON, Sept 23 U.S. officials on Tuesday
announced plans to open a detention facility to house migrant
Central American women and children to be run by Corrections
Corporation of America, a company criticized by rights
groups for conditions at other facilities it operates.
The new facility, to be built in Dilley, Texas, southwest of
San Antonio, will be run by CCA through a contract with the
The American Civil Liberties Union won a settlement with CCA
in 2007 over prison-like conditions for migrant children at its
T. Don Hutto Residential Center, also in Texas. The ACLU also
documented sexual abuse of women in the same facility in 2011.
Joanne Lin, legislative counsel for the ACLU, said it was
"bitterly ironic" that CCA would be running the new facility in
CCA would not immediately comment on the government's
The center will open in early November and eventually be
equipped to hold 2,400 people, according to U.S. Immigrations
and Customs Enforcement (ICE), making it vastly larger than the
three other facilities of its kind, which currently hold
approximately 1,300 people collectively.
At full capacity, the center will cost $298 per resident per
day, the agency estimates.
The expansion comes as the number of migrants entering the
United States from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador is on the
decline from earlier in the year, but is still overwhelming the
capacity of the existing facilities built to hold families until
their immigration court proceedings.
More than 66,000 parents traveling with their children
crossed the southwest U.S. border in the 11 months ended Aug.
31, up from 12,908 over the same period the previous year.
President Barack Obama said he would deport the newly
arrived migrants as quickly as possible to deter others from
U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have said
detaining migrants in facilities such as the one planned for
Dilley assures that they will show up to their court proceedings
rather than remaining in the country undetected.
Refugee advocates decry the detainment of the immigrants,
many of whom they say have strong cases for asylum.
"People seeking protection are being put in conditions we
know are damaging," said Michelle Brané, director of the Women's
Refugee Commission's migrant rights and justice program.
In a statement, ICE said the new facility would "operate in
an open environment, which includes medical care, play rooms,
social workers, educational services, and access to legal
(Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by John Whitesides)