Last month, California became the first state to kick out privately run immigrant detention centers. A new law that also bans private prisons prohibits new contracts or changes to existing ones after Jan. 1 and phases out existing detention facilities entirely by 2028.
But on Oct. 16, five days after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 32 into law, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials posted a solicitation — a request for offers — on the Federal Business Opportunities website for at least four detention facilities around the state.
Democratic state legislators and advocates for immigrants say that ICE’s action is a blatant attempt to circumvent the law in order to continue detaining immigrants in California. They’re now calling for answers from the agency, which has remained tight-lipped about the situation.
“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,” said Sen. Kamala Harris. “We need to fight back.”
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