LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The last four private detention centers for immigrants in California will gradually close as of January 1, 2020, by a state law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday. By 2028, these controversial prisons will cease to operate completely.
Among the criminals affected by the AB 32 legislation is that of Adelanto, with multiple accusations for the deaths of seven migrants since its opening in 2011. It has also rained complaints of abuse, medical negligence and neglect to those who have attempted suicide.
The response of the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) was swift. Through a statement, the agency warned that by this measure it will be forced to transfer more than 4,000 migrants out of California who are now in the Adelanto, Imperial, Mesa Verde and Otay Mesa detention centers.RELATED
"California residents would feel the impact and would be forced to travel long distances to visit friends and family in custody," the agency said. "This will not affect the number of detained individuals," he said.
The agency has about 52,000 people in its custody. Those in California represent less than 10% of the total.
ICE said it has a national network of detention centers that allows it to be flexible in these cases. He gave as an example that this year he added a capacity of 7,500 beds in Louisiana, in response to the migration crisis on the southwest border. "This is almost double the total number of beds in California, which shows how adaptable our agency is," the agency emphasized.
At the moment, the agency has not said to which prisons it plans to transfer detainees in California.
According to Mario, an undocumented immigrant who was detained in Adelanto last year, ICE makes these “threats” although he does have options not to take detainees out of the state. “We know that there are many alternatives; ICE has always had the discretion to free migrants and does not do it for all this business, ”he said in an interview with Univision News.
This is earned by companies for detained migrants
Mario, who asks not to publish his last name to avoid reprisals, refers to the huge profits that GEO Group, CoreCivic and Management and Training Corporation receive.
These are the figures shown by a report from the California Prosecutor's Office: in advance the fee is up to $ 113.51 per day for each migrant detained; In Imperial the maximum rate is $ 142.60; Mesa Verde charges up to $ 119.95; and in Otay Mesa a ceiling price of 2.7 million dollars was established for up to 600 beds and another of 138.29 dollars for each additional bed.
This income disturbed the legislators who promoted AB 32. “During my inaugural address, I promised to end private prisons, because they contribute to excessive imprisonment, including those who imprison California prisoners and those who detain immigrants and applicants from asylum, "Governor Newsom said." These prisons for profit do not reflect our values. "
The author of AB 32, Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta, labeled the approval of his initiative as "a historic moment" for the state with more migrants in the country.
“We are sending a powerful message that we vehemently oppose the practice of taking advantage of the Californians in custody at the ribs; that we will defend the health, safety and welfare of our people; and that we are committed to humane treatment for all, ”he said.
AB 32 also prohibits the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from entering into or renewing a contract with a company that manages private prisons. There are currently three such facilities that house more than 2,200 inmates.
Initially, this legislation only included private criminals who had agreements with the state government and even have facilities outside of California, but Assemblyman Bonta rewrote it to include ICE centers in the ban.
According to the state legislator, who represents the city of Oakland, these penalties pay for the humanitarian crisis that occurs at the border.
Mario, who was in the Adelanto prison between January and August 2018, says he witnessed several mistreatments. “The punishments are very severe, the food is horrible; People were denied the medical care they needed or did not see their lawyers. I saw many injustices, ”he said.
But companies that still have contracts with ICE and the state government claim that they have been essential to meet the growing demand for prison spaces. "For 10 years, we provided safe housing and reentry programs that changed the lives of inmates who had faced extreme overcrowding," CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist said.
While GEO Group said its service has been “innovative in the field of rehabilitation services.” He warned that AB 32 threatens the objective of reducing recidivism recidivism.
In recent years, ICE has lost the contracts it had with the Santa Ana municipal jail and jails James A. Musick and Theo Lacy, both operated by the Orange County Sheriff.
In photos: Life in the largest immigration detention center in California
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