Not a Lexis+ subscriber? Try it out for free.

Immigration Law

Inside the Administration's $1 Billion Deal to Detain Central American Asylum Seekers

Chico Harlan & Priscila Mosqueda, Washington Post, Aug. 14, 2016- "As Central Americans surged across the U.S. border two years ago, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a deal that offered generous terms to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison company, to build a massive detention facility for women and children seeking asylum.  The four-year, $1 billion contract — details of which have not been previously disclosed — has been a boon for CCA, which, in an unusual arrangement, gets the money regardless of how many people are detained at the facility. Critics say the government’s policy has been expensive but ineffective. Arrivals of Central American families at the border have continued unabated while court rulings have forced the administration to step back from its original approach to the border surge. ... Mark Fleming, an attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center, who has reviewed hundreds of federal ICE contracts, said the deal was “singularly unique” and was designed to “avoid transparency.” The center obtained copies of the financial agreements through Arizona open-records laws and gave them to The Post. Several other experts on federal procurement said that while the government can avoid bidding laws in urgent or national security cases, they had never before seen a facility in one state created with the help of a recycled contract from another.  “This is the arrangement of a no-bid contract by twisting and distorting the procurement process past recognition,” said Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law school professor, former solicitor and deputy general counsel of the House of Representatives, who reviewed the deal at the request of The Washington Post.  The contract shows how CCA is assured of a predictable payment, collecting a fixed amount of around $20 million per month — even when the facility’s population drops."