ICE detention center houses handful of inmates despite having thousands of beds: lawmaker

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in California is currently holding only a handful of migrants, although it was designed for nearly 2,000 inmates, according to a GOP lawmaker who is calling on the agency to do more to fill it despite a COVID-era court order that is still in effect. The Adelanto ICE processing center was blocked by a September 2020 court order from sending more detainees there due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was then near its peak. But that order is still in place, despite the emergency having been declared ended months ago. Rep. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., in a letter to ICE, urged the administration to do more to find a legal settlement to allow more migrants to be detained there instead of allowing them to be released into the interior. “I am alarmed at the current situation, especially since the Adelanto ICE Processing Center, which was specifically designed to house individuals in immigration detention for ICE, currently has the available capacity to house 1,932 additional detainees,” he said in the letter.  BIDEN BORDER POLICIES UNDER FIRE FROM ANOTHER BLUE STATE GOVERNOR “Even more perplexing is the fact that the COVID-19 national emergency, the primary justification used to limit the intake of new detainees at the Adelanto facility, was declared ended by President Joe Biden on May 11,” he said. His office says that the facility is currently only using eight of the nearly 2,000 available placements. Obernolte argues that multiple prisons are again operating at normal capacity and that centers in Mesa Verde and Tacoma have resulted in settlements allowing regular intakes to resume.  MIGRANT NUMBERS HIT HIGHEST EVER RECORDED IN ONE MONTH: SOURCES “I find it deeply concerning that the current Adelanto case has not been settled on the exact same terms, and ICE’s efforts to rectify this have been negligible. Given the huge demand, this is unacceptable,” he said. Obernolte wants ICE to instruct the Justice Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation to advise the courts that the block on new intakes should resume at pre-COVID levels. The letter comes just as the U.S. is again dealing with a new surge in illegal immigration at the southern border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources told Fox News last week that total migrant encounters for September have exceeded 260,000, which is the highest monthly total ever recorded.  That is after multiple days of more than 11,000 encounters each, which exceeds records set during the days leading up to the expiration of Title 42 in May. Border Patrol has been resorting to mass street releases in multiple sectors and has been setting “bookout” targets for its facilities in order to respond to the numbers.
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