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Detention Watch Network - Banking on Detention, Local Lockup Quota & Immigrant Dragnet, 2015

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Banking On Detention:
local lockup quotas & the immigrant dragnet

About Us
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and
challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound
change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 in response to the explosive
growth of the immigration detention and deportation system in the United States, DWN is today the only
national network that focuses exclusively on immigration detention and deportation issues and is known as a
critical national advocate for just policies that promote an eventual end to immigration detention. As a
member-led network, DWN unites diverse constituencies to advance the civil and human rights of those
impacted by the immigration detention and deportation system through collective advocacy, public education,
communications, and field-and-network-building.
Website: http://detentionwatchnetwork.org
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by
the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who
represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization
committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. CCR employs litigation, education,
and advocacy to advance the law in a positive direction, to empower poor communities and communities of
color, to guarantee the rights of those with the fewest protections and least access to legal resources, to train
the next generation of constitutional and human rights attorneys, and to strengthen the broader movement
for social justice.
Website: http://ccrjustice.org
The primary researchers, writers and editors of this report were Silky Shah, Mary Small and Carol Wu of
Detention Watch Network.
With contributions from:
Omar Farah, Ian Head and Ghita Schwarz of Center for Constitutional Rights
Jenny-Brooke Condon of Seton Hall University School of Law
For their help with our FOIA litigation, including reviewing Freedom of Information Act documents, we would
like to thank Mihal Ansik, Scott Foletta, Madhuri Grewal, Orlando Gudino, Antonia House, Christina Le,
Thomas Lehman, Sunita Patel, Carly Perez, Bettina Scholdan, Aimee Thompson, and Fred Tsao.
Design & Layout: Janani Balasubramanian
Cover Image: San Diego Contract Detention Facility (Otay Mesa), image courtesy of BBC World Service
© 2015, Detention Watch Network
All Rights Reserved.

Introduction
The United States government manages the largest immigration detention system in the world. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), oversees the
detention of hundreds of thousands of individuals charged with civil immigration violations each year in a
sprawling network of over 200 immigration jails across the U.S. In 2009, Congress began including a
requirement to fund a minimum number of beds (currently 34,000) dedicated to detention at any given time
in its annual appropriations bill. Since the policy, often referred to as the national detention bed quota, went
into effect, the number of people detained each year has increased from 383,524 in FY (fiscal year) 2009 to
a record breaking 477,000 in FY 2012.1

Figure 1: Taken from ICEʼs Broward Transitional
Center contract with the GEO Group.

In the last decade the detention system has grown by 75
percent,2 an expansion that depends heavily on ICE’s
increasing use of private contractors to operate and
provide services at immigration jails across the country.
Sixty-two percent of immigration detention beds are
operated by private prison companies,3 such as
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Geo
Group (GEO). Many government-owned facilities also rely
on privately contracted detention-related services such
as food, security, and transportation. This
interdependent relationship with private industry has
produced a set of government-sanctioned detention
quotas that ensure profits for the companies involved
while incentivizing the incarceration of immigrants.
Accordingly, a large portion of the over $2 billion in the
FY 2016 budget4 for detention operations will ultimately
go to for-profit contractors.

ICE’s contracts with private detention companies have exacerbated the effects of the federal detention bed
quota by imposing local “lockup” quotas, contractual provisions that obligate ICE to pay for a minimum
number of immigration detention beds at specific facilities, referred to in contracts as “guaranteed
minimums.” Because guaranteed minimums require payment to private contractors whether beds are filled
or not, ICE faces considerable pressure to fill them. Local lockup quotas that serve to protect the bottom line
of private companies thus incentivize the imprisonment of immigrants.
This report aims to expose the use of guaranteed minimums at the local level and its potential influence over
ICE’s detention practices. Although this report offers the most comprehensive information to date on the use
of guaranteed minimums, the information presented herein provides only a partial picture of the use of these
local lockup quotas across the U.S. due to ICE’s reticence regarding the details of their detention facility
contracts. The report draws on data obtained from a current Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed
by Detention Watch Network and the Center for Constitutional Rights5 in November 2013. Information has
also been gathered from solicitations listed and archived at the Federal Business Opportunities website,
where the government posts requests for business proposals.6 Additionally, where possible, contracts from
the National Immigrant Justice Center’s ICE FOIA request7 were also reviewed and utilized.

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National Detention Bed Quota
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 required ICE to increase, in each fiscal year
from 2006 to 2010, the number of immigration detention beds available by 8,000 above the preceding fiscal
year’s number.8 Beyond a requirement to create additional capacity, ICE was also under pressure to use it. In
February 2006, then Assistant Secretary of ICE Julie Myers Wood met with then Chairman of the House
Subcommittee on Homeland Security Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Representatives Louis Gohmert (R-TX), John
Culberson (R-TX), and Judge John Carter (R-TX).9 In that meeting, Representatives Culberson and Carter
highlighted that “[d]etention facilities in Laredo are only one-third full,” and that there are “[h]undreds of
empty beds.” Chairman Rogers noted that as one of his “key issues,” he wanted “‘no’ empty beds.”10
The use of arbitrary numerical
goals escalated in 2009 when
Congress began formally
including the national bed quota
in annual appropriations bills.
Since then, the detention bed
quota has been written into the
DHS Appropriations Act, which
states, “… funding made
available under this heading
shall maintain a level of not less
than 34,000 detention beds.”11
In addition to requiring that ICE
maintain the physical capacity to
detain at least 34,000 people at
any time, many members of
Northwest Detention Center, image courtesy of Seattle Globalist
Congress have urged ICE to
interpret this language to require
that all detention beds be in use
at all times—that is, that a minimum of 34,000 beds not only be funded, but also filled, every day. Over time,
congressional frustration over empty beds has grown. In April 2015, after a heated exchange with ICE Director
Sarah Saldaña, Representative John Culberson (R-TX) suggested that the current quota language be altered
to replace the word “maintain” with “fill.”12 Congressional staff have also repeatedly, if incorrectly,13 told ICE
that keeping an average of at least 34,000 detained per day is a statutory requirement.14
These criticisms make clear that ICE faces substantial pressure to funnel immigrants into detention in order
to keep beds filled, despite the arbitrariness of quotas at both the national and local levels. Former ICE
Director John Sandweg expressed this frustration in a September 2013 interview with Bloomberg, saying that
“[h]aving a mandate out there that says you have to detain a certain number – regardless of how many folks
are a public safety threat or threaten the integrity of the system – doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. You
need the numbers to drive the detention needs, not set an arbitrary number that then drives your
operation.”15 No other law enforcement agency is subject to a national quota system for incarceration.
Prominent law enforcement officials have decried the national quota as “unprecedented” with a “corrupting
influence on the entire process” of enforcement and removal.16

“

No other law enforcement agency is subject to
a national quota system for incarceration.

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”

Local Lockup Quotas
While members of Congress continue to stress the importance of “filling” the mandated 34,000 immigration
detention beds, local lockup quotas for immigrants in the form of guaranteed minimums also place pressure
on ICE to fill beds. Guaranteed minimums are contractual provisions that obligate ICE to pay for a minimum
number of immigration detention beds at specific facilities. Because guaranteed minimums require payment
to private contractors whether beds are filled or not, they function as local lockup quotas, incentivizing ICE to
fill detention beds because of the contract stipulation. Present exclusively in contracts with private
companies, the growth of local lockup quotas is inextricably linked to the rise of corporate interests in
immigration detention.

A. Guaranteeing Profit for Private Companies
Guaranteed minimums predate the national quota’s inception and have existed at least since 2003. Their
use can be understood in the context of the private prison industry’s past instability and its successful
pursuit of guaranteed profit.
In 1984, CCA built the first private prison in
the U.S., the Houston Processing Center, an
immigration detention center in Houston,
TX. Although the private prison system has
grown considerably since then, in the late
1990s, the industry lost steam as CCA
almost went bankrupt and the stock of
Wackenhut Corrections Corporation (now
GEO) fell significantly.17 After being bailed
out by the now-defunct hedge fund Lehman
Brothers, the private prison industry saw
the government’s post-9/11 interest in
expanding immigration detention as a
potential cash cow and began vying for
more federal contracts to incarcerate
immigrants.18

Houston Processing Center, image courtesy of Sin Huellas
Revitalized after the period of crisis, the
private prison industry moved to secure its
future by pursuing the incorporation of guaranteed minimums into contracts. CCA’s 2003 contract for the
Houston Processing Center was one of the first to include a guaranteed minimum, this one for 375
persons.19 Since then, an increasing number of contracts between ICE and private contractors for detention
or detention-related services have included guaranteed minimums. These guarantees act as
taxpayer-funded insurance for private companies against any changes in immigration enforcement policy or
prioritization, because the companies are paid regardless of how many individuals ICE detains. Guaranteed
minimums have now spread to every type of immigration detention facility.

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B. Guaranteed Minimums in Both Public & Private Facilities
Field Office

Guranteed Minimums

Guranteed Minimums

(based on ICE 1/28/2013 spreadsheet)

(based on accessible contracts and solicitations)

El Paso
Houston
Los Angeles
Miami
Newark
New Orleans
Phoenix
San Antonio
San Diego
Seattle

400
350
500
750
488
750
285
0
374
2,791
872
1,181

400
300
500
750
488
950
285
770

TOTAL:

8,741

8,522

Buffalo
Denver

374
2,005
900
800

ICEʼs Enforcement and Removal Office (ERO), which oversees detention operations,
is divided into 24 field officesi nationwide. Of those, 12 have guaranteed minimums.ii

Northwest: 800

Buffalo/Batavia: 400

Elizabeth: 285
Aurora: 300

Adelanto: 488
Florence: 374

Otay Mesa: 900

Jena/LaSalle: 770

El Paso: 500

Broward: 500

Pearsall: 725
Houston: 750

Karnes: 480

Krome: 450

Port Isabel: 800
i. The 24 field offices are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Houson, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans,
New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Paul, and Washington.
ii. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), “2013 ADP Targets,” produced by ICE on December 15, 2014. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%202013%20ADP%20Targets%2028526.pdf; New
Orleans Field Office has a guaranteed minimum. See also DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.001228-001789.
Available at http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%201228-1789.pdf

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ICE categorizes its detention facilities into three primary categories: Service Processing Centers, which are
owned and administered by ICE; Contract Detention Facilities, in which ICE contracts directly with a private
company; and Intergovernmental Service Agreements (IGSAs), through which ICE rents out space in local or
state facilities. In reality, however, the arrangements are more complicated, and these categories can
obscure the involvement of private companies even at public facilities. Service Processing Centers, those
facilities owned and operated by ICE, do sometimes contract out for detention-related services such as
security, transportation, and food. Similarly, many local governments sign the IGSA with ICE and then
sub-contract with private companies to operate the detention center or to provide detention-related services.
Although guaranteed minimums are found formally only in contracts with private companies, sub-contracting
within IGSAs and SPCs means that private companies can be involved and minimums can occur in all three
types of contract categories including public facilities, as outlined in the chart below. When the contractor
operates the entire facility, whether contracted or sub-contracted, they receive the per-bed payment as if the
guaranteed population was detained. This functions in the same way for private contractors providing other
services. For example, in a food service contract with a guaranteed minimum, the contractor will be paid as if
they provided food for the guaranteed population, even if the number of people actually detained was lower.

Guaranteed Minimums in Detention Contracts
ICE searches for
detention capacity

ICE contracts with
private company to own
and operate facility
(Contract Detention
Facility)

Guaranteed minimum
included contract

ICE owns and operates
facility
(Service Processing
Center)

ICE contracts with local
government to own and
operate facility
(Intergovernmental
Service Agreement)

ICE sub-contracts for
detention-related services

Local government
sub-contracts with private
company to operate facility

Local government
sub-contracts with private
company for detention
related services

Guaranteed minimum
found in sub-contract

Guaranteed minimum
found in sub-contract

Guaranteed minimum
found in sub-contract

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C. Guaranteed Minimums as Local Lockup Quotas
Contracts with guaranteed minimums are understood at the field office level as general priorities within their
relevant geographic area, and create incentives for heightened enforcement in order to fill beds. This
pressure to fill beds and fulfill the mandate is felt acutely at local field offices where facilities with
guaranteed minimums are prioritized and privately-contracted beds and services are perceived as being
more “cost efficient.”
Crucial to the cost-efficiency calculus is the use of “tiered pricing,” in which ICE receives a discount on each
person detained above the guaranteed minimum. Tiered pricing creates direct financial incentives for ICE
not only to meet the guaranteed minimum, but also to fill guaranteed-minimum facilities to capacity in order
to take advantage of discounts for additional immigrants.
When ICE fails to make the most of its financial arrangements with private companies, it risks critique. In
October 2014, for example, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) produced a report on
immigration detention criticizing ICE for underutilizing cost-efficient bed space.20 Per the contracts, ICE paid
certain facilities their guaranteed minimums even when the beds went unoccupied. The GAO further
censured ICE for failing to capitalize on the tiered pricing model and recommended that ICE develop “an
oversight mechanism to ensure that field offices comply with guidance to place detainees, whenever
possible, in facilities with guaranteed minimums and tiered pricing [to] provide ICE with better assurance
that it is cost-effectively managing detainee placement.”21
ICE officials pass this message from headquarters to the field office level. According to the same GAO report,
if “ICE ERO headquarters officials…notice that a particular area of responsibility [field office] has open space
in facilities with guaranteed minimums, they can call the field office director to find out why the guaranteed
minimum is not being met.”22
Indeed, during the 2013 budget sequestration in which ICE released 2,226 immigrants23 from detention due
to budget cuts, ERO Assistant Director for Operations Support, William C. Randolph, and then Acting
Assistant Director for Field Operations, Philip T. Miller, advised local offices in an email that “[t]he first
priorities for funding are the 11iii [field offices] that have detention facilities with guaranteed minimum
beds.”24 In another email, Miller emphasized again that field offices should “[e]nsure that all mandatory
minimum detention bed guarantees are being met and that any net cost benefits of tiered pricing or low cost
beds are being realized.”25
Repeating this directive from headquarters, Washington Field Office Director Mary Evans wrote, “Ensure that
all mandatory minimum detention bed guarantees are being met and that any net cost benefits of tiered
pricing or low costs beds are being realized. For our purposes that means that Farmville [Detention Center]
should stay at a population of 505 or above.”26
Because GEO Group has been the most successful company in getting guaranteed minimums incorporated
into their contracts, their facilities are often prioritized in order to fill local quotas. Denver’s then Field Office
Director John P. Longshore wrote an email in 2013 saying, “we must ensure we are maximizing GEO beds for
cost savings—I believe that our usage has improved again. We will be getting emails and calls from HQ [ICE
headquarters] if they note we are not making good use of those cheaper beds. They already call me enough
on stuff.”46 Longshore also mentions an interest in raising “GEO usage” to “the full contract amount of
525.”47
iii
11 field offices are listed in a January 2013 ICE spreadsheet, but DWN and CCR’s FOIA request revealed that the New Orleans Field Office also has a
guaranteed minimum at the Jena/LaSalle Detention Facility. See footnote ii.

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A marked preference for GEO beds is also seen in the Miami field office where then Deputy Assistant Director
of Field Operations Jack Bennett wrote to the local field office that, “[g]iven the fact that the beds beyond
your minimum at Broward are $6.24 each, please fill them up to your max. Field ops will make the necessary
adjustments to your ADP [average daily population].”48 Internal communications also indicate that GEO has
placed pressure on ICE field offices to increase bed usage. An employee at the Northwest Detention Center
wrote in an email that, “our AFOD [Assistant Field Office Director] over the [sic] NWDC has reported that the
Warden/Administrator of the NWDC has stated that ‘he wouldn’t be surprised, if we go down to 500
detainees, that GEO might not give ICE 60 days notice’, [sic] meaning to cancel the contract.”49
The financial incentives and bureaucratic pressures associated with the local lockup quotas are particularly
worrying when combined with easily manipulated enforcement, detention and release practices. Through
mechanisms like these, financial considerations and private profit can affect government decisions to
deprive immigrants of liberty at a concrete, local level.
Ultimately, ICE has significant control over the pipeline of immigrants entering and leaving detention. ICE
controls the pace and aggressiveness of its enforcement operations, and the field offices that determine
when and how to conduct enforcement operations are the recipients of direct pressure to fill beds. Within
this system, a single guaranteed minimum risks influencing decisions in an entire field office jurisdiction.51
In addition to controlling the number of people coming into detention, ICE controls the release of individuals
from detention through the manipulation of bond and parole decisions. A recent example of ICE’s power to
keep people detained was their virtual “no bond” or “high bond” policy relating to asylum-seeking Central
American families, in which mothers and children who had passed an initial eligibility screening for the
asylum process—after which they would previously have been released—were instead detained for long
periods of time.52 Although this change in practice was driven by a desire to deter future asylum-seekers
from migrating to the U.S., it demonstrates how vulnerable bond and parole decisions are to manipulation in
order to ensure guaranteed bed minimums are met.

Guaranteed Minimums by Private Contractor
Private Contractor50

Services

Asset Protection & Security
Services LP

Patrol and security guard services

374

Doyon Government Group
(www.doyongovgrp.com)

Security Services

500

Ahtna Technical Services, Inc.
(www.atsiak.com)

Facility operations and maintenace
support, guard services

800iv

Akima Global Services LLC
(www.akimaglobal.com)

Detention Management

850

Akal Security
(www.akalsecurity.com)

Security Officer Services

900

Corrections Corporation of America
(www.cca.com)

Owns and manages private prisons

1,935

The Geo Group, Inc.
(www.geogroup.com)

Owns and manages private prisons

4,063

Total Guaranteed Minimums

iv
800 is the guaranteed minimum written into the most recent solicitation for Port Isabel Detention Center (PIDC). See endnote 39. And 500 is
the guaranteed minimum written into Ahtna’s prior contract for PIDC. See endnote 38.

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Guaranteed Minimums by Facility
Service Processing Center

Contract Detention Facility

Field Office Facility Name

Private Company Involved

Intergovernmental Service
Agreement (IGSA)

Guaranteed Minimum*

Buffalo

Buffalo (Batavia) Service
Processing Center

Akal-Akima JV27

400

Denver

Denver (Aurora) Contract
Detention Facility

The GEO Group, Inc.28

300

El Paso

El Paso Service Processing
Center

Doyon-Akal JV29

500

Houston

Houston Processing Center Corrections Corporation of America30

750

Los Angeles

Adelanto Detention Facility

The GEO Group, Inc.31

48832

Miami

Broward Transitional Center

The GEO Group, Inc.33

500

Miami

Krome North Services
Processing Center

Akima Global Services LLC34

450

The GEO Group, Inc.44

77045

Corrections Corporation of America

28566

New Orleans Jena/LaSalle Detention
Facility
Newark

Elizabeth Detention Center

Phoenix

Florence Service Processing Asset Protection & Security
Center
Services LP35

374

San Antonio

South Texas Detention
Complex (Pearsall)

The GEO Group, Inc.36

72537

San Antonio

Port Isabel (PIDC)

Ahtna Technical Services, Inc38

80039

San Antonio

Karnes County Correction
Centerv

The GEO Group, Inc.

48040

San Diego

Corrections Corporation
San Diego Contract
Detention Facility (Otay Mesa)41 of America

90042

Seattle

Northwest Detention Center The GEO Group, Inc.

80043

* Italicized numbers are from solicitations
v
Karnes was converted into a family detention facility on August 1, 2014. It is still operated by the GEO Group, but it is unclear whether there is a
guaranteed minimum. We currently have no direct evidence of a family quota.

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Stealth Contracting
The outsourcing of detention promotes a lack of transparency regarding contracts and relationships between
localities and the federal government. While ICE publishes select IGSA contracts on its website, agreements
for detention space and detention-related services with private contractors are considerably more obscure
—whether ICE contracts with the company directly, or the company is sub-contracted by a local government.
In response to FOIA requests, ICE redacts crucial details, including pricing information, of contracts or
sub-contracts with private companies by claiming the information is exempt from disclosure because it may
constitute “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or
confidential.”53 The Freedom of Information Act further permits ICE to engage in a lengthy process to seek
permission from the companies themselves to release such information to the public.54 Thus, even when ICE
has released detention facility contracts, information regarding guaranteed minimums is almost always
redacted.
The absence of transparency about what exactly is promised and gained in detention facility contracts is
further obscured by the way in which these contracts are quietly renewed, often on an annual schedule,
sometimes with higher negotiated guaranteed minimums. For example, the Houston Processing Center’s
guaranteed minimum increased from 37555 to 75056 between 2003 and 2008, and at Port Isabel Detention
Center, the guaranteed minimum increased from 50057 to 80058 between 2008 and 2014. Krome
Detention Center’s guaranteed minimum also saw an increase from 250 to 450 between 2008 and 2014.59
For each of these, there is no publicly available information as to why such dramatic increases were
necessary.

Local Dependence on Detention Dollars
Guaranteed minimums are far from the only source of pressure at the local level. When ICE has been forced
by budget cuts to detain fewer immigrants, state and county jails have exerted political pressure to combat
the decreases and push for a return to capacity.
Like private contractors, local and state government actors also exert pressure to fill local beds in order to
access federal funds. In anticipation of budget cuts due to the sequestration of funding in early 2013, ICE
attempted to lower the number of individuals held in immigration detention facilities. ERO headquarters
warned the field offices to expect questions or pushback from local “contract partners.” The New York field
office anticipated hearing from concerned wardens,60 while the Atlanta Assistant Field Office Director wrote
in an email that “[i]f the management of NGDC [North Georgia Detention Center], ACDC [Atlanta Contract
Detention Center], or ICDC [Irwin Contract Detention Center] wish to voice their population concerns (or any
other concerns), you are welcome to refer them to me.”61
Representatives from Chicago and Sacramento jails sent emails to their respective field offices in 2013
inquiring as to when detention numbers would increase again.62 And an individual from the Frederick County
Jail in Maryland requested that the period of performance on its contract be extended “as far as the
remaining funding will go[.]”63 A captain from Boone County Jail in Illinois wrote in a February 2013 email
that, “[t]he jailer and I were just curious if you knew anymore [sic] than we did about this situation and if we
should look at trying to refill these beds with state inmates or if there is any hope that our numbers will
increase.”
Beyond the pressure to fill beds, some extremely sub-par facilities have also stayed open to retain jobs in
counties that are dependent on federal contracts to pad low and often dwindling budgets. Etowah County
Detention Center, which has been singled out as one of the worst detention centers in the country for its
abysmal conditions64 was slated to close in 2010.

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Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama

Representative Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
and other members of Congress from
Alabama immediately acted to
countermand ICE’s plan to close the
facility because of the potential loss of
jobs in the county. Senator Richard
Shelby (R-AL), who sits on the DHS
Appropriations Committee, threatened
ICE’s funding if it moved forward with
terminating Etowah’s contract, after
which ICE rescinded its decision and
cancelled plans to close the facility.65
Despite ICE’s efforts to end the contract
due to the facility’s remote location and
lack of immigrants’ access to counsel,
Etowah continues to detain immigrants
today.

Recommendations
There is a growing consensus that the mass detention of immigrants is unnecessary and inhumane. The
U.S. government should move towards ending the use of immigration detention altogether. Unfortunately,
corporate interests and the absence of job growth have converted the detention of human beings into a
market-based activity. However, detention capacity and infrastructure must not be a determining factor in
immigration enforcement and deportation policy. As immediate next steps, this report calls on:
ICE to remove guaranteed minimums, tiered pricing or any other provisions that could
function as a local lockup quota, from all detention contracts.
ICE to make all information pertaining to detention contracts and the bidding process
publicly accessible and transparent.
ICE to stop contracting with private companies that lobby to pervert public policy via
guaranteed minimums and other contractual giveaways.
ICE to bar (1) the transfer of individuals between detention facilities; (2) the manipulation of
bond or parole determinations; and (3) the initiation of enforcement actions based in whole
or in part on empty detention beds, unmet guaranteed minimums, or tiered pricing.
Congress to remove the national detention bed quota from the FY 2016 DHS Appropriations
bill.

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Conclusion
By requiring ICE to fill a certain number of detention beds on a daily basis at specific facilities, the U.S.
government is allowing private interests a hand in setting policy on immigration enforcement and
detention, while at the same time padding their bottom line. As long as the guaranteed minimums are in
place, especially if they are reinforced by a national detention bed quota, the profits and the business
model of these facilities are protected from the potential effects of immigration reform legislation, any
expansion of prosecutorial discretion, or other administrative actions.
Even more disconcerting is the way in which local lockup quotas and the national immigration detention
quota may influence ICE’s decision-making. More research is needed to determine the extent to which
these quotas have prompted ICE to more vigorously collaborate with local law enforcement solely for the
purpose of finding additional people to detain, as well as how decisions about transfers between facilities
are made and whether or not meaningful access to bond and parole are affected at facilities with
guaranteed minimums.
The private sector should not be rewarded for placing a price tag on the deprivation of liberty, and the
government should be held accountable for being a willful participant in this corrupted system. The practice
of immigration detention, once rarely used, has become a rigid part of the United States’ immigration and
budget policy. Before any real immigration reform can be realized, the national and local lockup quotas
have to be addressed. As a first step towards the ultimate closure of all detention facilities, ICE should end
the use of guaranteed minimums and tiered pricing, and Congress should eliminate the national detention
bed quota.

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APPENDIX: Contracts’ Periods of Performance
Facility Name

Private Contractor

Periods of Performance*

Buffalo (Batavia) Service
Processing Center

Akal-Akima JV

2/1/2015-1/31/2016, option
to extend annually until 2025

400

Denver Contract
Detention Facility

The GEO Group, Inc.

9/1/2011-8/31/2013, option
to extend every 2 years until 2021

300

El Paso Service Processing
Center

Doyon-Akal JV

9/1/2008-6/30-2009, option to
extend annually until 2013

500

Houston Contract Detention
Facility

Corrections Corporation
of America

4/1/2009-2/28/2010, option to
extend annually until 2014

750

Adelanto Detention Facility

The GEO Group, Inc.

6/1/2011-5/31/2016

488

Broward Transitional Center

The GEO Group, Inc.

4/1/2009-2/28/2010, option to
extend annually until 2014

500

Krome North Services
Processing Center

Akima Global Services
LLC

2014-2015, option to extend
annually for the next 10 years

450

Florence Services
Processing Center

Asset Protection &
Security Services LP

2009-2010, option to extend
annually for the next 4 years

374

South Texas Detention
Complex (Pearsall)

The GEO Group, Inc.

12/1/2012-11/30/2013, option to
extend annually until 2016

725

Port Isabel (PIDC)

Ahtna Technical
Services, Inc.

11/1/2014-8/31/2015, option to
extend annually until 2022

800

Karnes County
Correctional Center

The GEO Group, Inc.

12/07/2010-12/6/2015

480

San Diego Contract
Detention Facility (Otay Mesa)

Corrections Corporation
of America

7/1/2005-6/30/2008, with option
to extend every 3 years

900

Northwest Detention
Center

The GEO Group, Inc.

4/1/2015-3/31/2016,
option to extend

800

Jena/LaSalle Detention
Facility

The GEO Group, Inc.

10/01/2008-9/30/2009, option to
extend every year until 2014

770

*Italicized information was taken from solicitations

-- 1212 --

Guaranteed Minimum

ENDNOTES
1. Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “Growth in Number Detained,” Syracuse University, Feb. 11, 2010. Available at
http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/224/include/1.html; Department of Homeland Security Annual Report, Immigration
Enforcement Actions: 2012 (December 2013). Available at
https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ois_enforcement_ar_2012_1.pdf
2. In 2003, the funded bed space was 19,444. See Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Detention and
Removal of Illegal Aliens, pg. 17 (April 2006). Available at https://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/OIG_06-33_Apr06.pdf
3. Carson, Bethany, and Eleana Diaz. Grassroots Leadership. Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant
Detention Quota, pg. 3 (April 2015). Available at
http://grassrootsleadership.org/sites/default/files/reports/quota_report_final_digital.pdf
4. Department of Homeland Security. “Congressional Budget Justification FY 2016.” Available at
http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/DHS_FY2016_Congressional_Budget_Justification_15_0325.pdf
5. Center for Constitutional Rights, Detention Watch Network v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (November 2013). Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/bed-quota-foia
6. Federal Business Opportunities website. Available at https://www.fbo.gov/?s=main&mode=list&tab=list
7. NIJC v. DHS. No. 12-cv-05358 (2012). Available at http://foiaproject.org/dc_view/?id=396216-iln-1-2012cv05358-complaint
8. Public Law 108-458, Sec. 5204(a) (Dec. 17, 2004).
9. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. DHS-001-0002416-17. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20DHS%202416-17.pdf
10. During his tenure as the head of a committee with power over DHS’s budget, Chairman Rogers was found to have funneled large
amounts of money to benefit businesses within his home state of Kentucky. In return, Rogers was lavished with expensive vacations
and political donations. Rogers is now Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. See Lipton, Eric. “In Kentucky Hills, a
Homeland Security Bonanza.” The New York Times (May 14, 2006); see also U.S. congressman Hal Rogers website. Available at
http://halrogers.house.gov/
11. The quota was first introduced in 2009 by then Senator and Chairman of Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security
Robert Byrd (D-WV). See National Immigrant Justice Center, Detention bed quota timeline (March 20, 2014). Available at
http://www.immigrantjustice.org/eliminate-detention-bed-quota#.VVuruflViko; see also Department of Homeland Security
Appropriations Act of 2015 (March 4, 2015). Government Printing Office. Available at
https://www.congress.gov/114/plaws/publ4/PLAW-114publ4.pdf
12. Budget Hearing on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (April 15, 2015). Available at
http://appropriations.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=394119
13. The appropriations bill language speaks only to the funding of 34,000 beds. Further, under Article II of the Constitution, the
executive branch is given “significant prosecutorial discretion not to take enforcement action against violators of a federal law.” See In
re Aiken Cnty., 725 F.3d 255, 262-63 (D.C. Cir. 2013). For this reason, Congress “may not mandate that the President prosecute a
certain type of offense or offender,” and therefore cannot require that the executive branch hold a certain number of people in
immigration detention.
14. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, ICE’s Release of Immigration Detainees, pg. 10 (August 2014).
Available at https://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2014/OIG_14-116_Aug14.pdf
15. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.000859-61 (referencing the reporter’s conversation with
then-Director of ICE, John Sandweg). Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%20859-61.pdf
16. Morgenthau, Robert, “Immigrants jailed just to hit a number.” NY Daily News (January 19, 2014).
17. Coyle, Andrew, et al. Capital Punishment: Prison Privatization & Human Rights. Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2008.
18. Pens, Dan. “Prison Realty/CCA Verges on Bankruptcy.” Prison Legal News (July 15, 2000). Available at
https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2000/jul/15/prison-realtycca-verges-on-bankruptcy/
19. NIJC v. DHS, No. 12-cv-05358 (2012), ICE Bates No. ICE 2012FOIA03030.0029996. Today, it has a guaranteed minimum of 750.

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20. Government Accountability Office. Immigration Detention: Additional Actions Needed to Strengthen Management and Oversight of
Facility Costs and Standards, pg. 18 (October 2014).
21. Id. at 21.
22. Id. at 19.
23. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, ICE’s Release of Immigration Detainees, pg. 12 (August 2014).
Available at https://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2014/OIG_14-116_Aug14.pdf
24. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0006819. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%206819.pdf
25. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0001207. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%201207.pdf
26. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0007865. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%207865.pdf
27. Buffalo Federal Detention Facility Solicitation No. HSCEDM-14-R-00005 for detention, transportation, and food services (August 19,
2014). Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=f098075ff499050bd11957deb7cb69d6&tab=core&_cview=1; Akal Security
and Akima Global Services Joint Venture announcement on taking over operations at the Buffalo facility on February 1, 2015. Available
at http://detentionofficerjobs.com/
28. Contract No. HSCEDM-11-D-00003 for a DHS/ICE contractor owned contractor operated detention facility in Denver Metro
(September 15, 2011), citing to the original solicitation. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=3edf8804c9ebbb17957bcbf04ce2f321&_cview=0; DWN v. ICE,
No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.005256. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%205256.pdf
29. El Paso Service Processing Center Contract No. HSCEDM-09-D-00004 for detention services (February 25, 2009), citing to the
original solicitation. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=7ad34147f6e1934336ce7dececa0cc5b&tab=core&_cview=1; Contract was
extended to March 8, 2015. Available at http://www.doyongovgrp.com/security/security-contracts-vehicles/ and
http://government-contracts.findthebest.com/l/2559287/Doyon-Akal-Jv-Ii-U-S-Immigration-and-Customs-Enforcement-HSCEDM09D00
004
30. Contract No. HSCEDM-09-D-00007 for detention services in Houston, Texas (April 30, 2009), citing to the original solicitation.
Available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=4fb212a693f78c357f02d32cf3acb323&tab=core&_cview=1
31. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.003826-004010. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%203826-4010.pdf
32. NIJC v. DHS, No. 12-cv-05358 (2012), Bates No. ICE2012FOIA3030Adelanto.000004, 000070
33. Solicitation No. HSCEDM-09-R-00005 for a contract detention facility in the Miami area (January 28, 2009). Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=da740c041090f54247b2055e7dfbe71c&tab=core&_cview=0; Contract No.
HSCEDM-09-D-00006 for a four-month extension (August 28, 2014). Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=9f2b96fae5bba23fca82dc824e94283d&tab=core&_cview=0; DWN v. ICE,
No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), ICE Bates No. 2596, 2761
34. Krome Service Processing Center Contract No. HSCEDM-13-R-00001 for detention management, transportation and food services
(April 11, 2014), citing to the original solicitation. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=406cf61548170f006941dfc6580e0858&tab=core&_cview=1; Akima Global
Services LLC announcement of winning the 10-year contract for full detention services at Krome. Available at
http://www.akimaglobal.com/2014/05/13/dhs-awards-akima-global-services-contract-to-support-krome-detention-center/; Krome’s
contract used to be with Doyon-Akal JV and the guaranteed minimum was 250. Available at
http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/contracts/hscedm-08-d-00003-doyonakaljv.pdf
35. Contract No. HSCEDM-09-D-00003 for detention services (May 29, 2009), citing to the original solicitation. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=c474c1c4907c2370e509da47a69bdb60&tab=core&_cview=1
36 DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.001987-002228. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%201987-2228.pdf

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37. South Texas Detention Center Contract No. ACD-4-C-0001 for guard services with The GEO Group (June 19, 2008). Available at
http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/contracts/geogrouphscedm09f00001.pdf
38. Port Isabel Detention Center Contract No. HSCEDM-08-D-00002 for operation of the detention processing facility (February 28,
2008). Available at http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/contracts/hscedm-08-d-00002-ahtnatechnicalservicesinc.pdf; PIDC special notice
for an interim contract award not to exceed 12 months. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=e40f1ea201d3434f08504907f6230856&tab=core&_cview=0
39. Solicitation No. HSCEDM-14-R-00003 for detention guard, food and local transportation services (January 24, 2014). Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2c0a16fd90949bfb227cbb065b86638f&tab=core&_cview=1
40. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.003226-003459 (guaranteed minimum listed on 003332,
003225). Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%203226-3459.pdf
41. San Diego Otay Mesa Contract No. ODT-5-C-0003 for comprehensive secure detention services (July 1, 2005). Available at
http://www.justice.gov/archive/ofdt/otay-mesa-contract.pdf; CCA is building a new facility with greater detention capacity to replace San
Diego. Available at https://www.cca.com/insidecca/a-new-facility-is-underway; Another facility in the area, El Centro SPC (closed down in
2014), was managed by Asset Protection & Security Services LLP and had a guaranteed minimum of 225 beds. Contract No.
HSCEDM-09-D-00001 for detention services (May 22, 2009), citing to the original solicitation. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=bab95d17227113f8db7e219f9df5fc06&_cview=0
42. 900 from ICE and 300 from USMS. See endnote 41.
43. Solicitation No. HSCEDM-15-R-00001 for a contractor owned and contractor operated detention facility (November 20, 2014).
Available at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=5070ee30860d8093cb1f7abe0aa9f741&_cview=0;
The guaranteed minimum was increased from 750. See Henterly, Lael. The Seattle Globalist. “Fewer Immigrants filling Tacoma detention
center, as doubts grow about new contract.” (April 2, 2015). Available at
http://seattleglobalist.com/2015/04/02/tacoma-detention-center-immigrant-ice-contract/35475; In 2009, the guaranteed minimum
was 1181. See Krell, Alexis. The News Tribune. “GEO expected to get new contract to run Tacoma immigrant detention center.” (March
30, 2015). Available at http://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/03/30/3717088_geo-expected-to-get-new-contract.html?rh=1
44. The Geo Group operates this facility. Available at http://www.geogroup.com/Maps/LocationDetails/7
45. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.001228-001789 (minimum stated on ICE Bates No.
001318, 001454, 001578, 001587). Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%201228-1789.pdf
46. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0006631-32. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%206631-32.pdf
47. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0008673. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%208672.pdf
48. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.006765. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%206765.pdf
49. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.007807. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%207807-09.pdf
50. In a 2013 email exchange, an ICE official provided a list of private companies that ICE contracted with to Bloomberg reporter
Kathleen Miller. The private contractors included: GEO, CCA, AHTNA, M&TC, Doyon-AKAL, CEC, LCS, ICA, Emerald, Paladin, and MVM. See
DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.001045-50. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%201045-1050.pdf
51. As a potential consequence, immigration enforcement in regions with guaranteed minimums may be affected by the requirement to
fill a local bed quota. For example, the San Diego Field Office has two detention facilities, but only the Otay Mesa Detention Center has a
guaranteed minimum. Enforcement actions anywhere in the jurisdiction of that Field Office could be wholly, or in part, motivated by the
need to meet Otay Mesa’s guaranteed minimum.
52. This case is currently being litigated and addresses the use of a deterrence justification at an initial screening in order to keep
Central American asylum-seeking families detained. RILR v. Johnson, No. 15-cv-11 JEB (2015). Available at
https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/order_0.pdf

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53. 5 U.S.C. §552(b)(4).
54. 6 C.F.R. §5.8.
55. NIJC v. DHS, No. 12-cv-05358 (2012), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.00029996.
56. Solicitation No. HSCEDM-09-R-00002 (December 9, 2008) for detention services. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=4fb212a693f78c357f02d32cf3acb323&tab=core&_cview=1
57. Contract No. HSCEDM-08-D-00002. Available at
http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/contracts/hscedm-08-d-00002-ahtnatechnicalservicesinc.pdf
58. Solicitation No. HSCEDM-14-R-00003 (January 24, 2014) for detention guard, food and local transportation services. Available at
https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2c0a16fd90949bfb227cbb065b86638f&tab=core&_cview=1
59. Contract No. HSCEDM-08-J-00087. Available at http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/contracts/hscedm-08-d-00003-doyonakaljv.pdf
60. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0000228. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%20228.pdf
61. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0000086. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%20086.pdf
62. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates Nos. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0001211, 6595. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%201211.pdf;
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%206594-95.pdf
63. DWN v. ICE, No. 14-cv-583 LGS (2013), Bates No. ICE 2014FOIA03585.0011542. Available at
http://ccrjustice.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/06/DWN%20v%20ICE%20FOIA%20-%20ICE%2011542.pdf
64. Expose & Close. Detention Watch Network. Etowah County Jail Alabama. Available at
http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/sites/detentionwatchnetwork.org/files/expose-etowahnov12.pdf
65. Seville, Lisa Riordan and Hannah Rappleye. “When feds sought to shutter immigration jail, politics intervened.” NBC News (August
22, 2012) Available at:
http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/22/13398156-when-feds-sought-to-shutter-immigration-jail-politics-intervened
66. NIJC v. DHS, No. 12-cv-05358 (2012), Bates No. ICE 2012FOIA03030.0029953

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