CHICAGO (WEEK) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has posted a formal request for proposals (RFP) for an immigration detention center near Chicago.
The RFP was posted to a government website just two days after the village of Dwight’s board approved a request from Immigration Centers of America to annex and rezone 88 acres of land to allow for a privately-run detention facility.
With the groundwork now set at the local and federal levels, ICA can now formally submit a proposal to ICE to build the detention facility.
The RFP requires a contractor owned-and-operated facility able to house 1,000 detainees, preferably within 80 miles of Chicago. Dwight, a Livingston County community of 4,200 people situated along Interstate 55, is about 80 miles southwest of Chicago.
A year-long, pre-transition period would start June 1, 2020, followed by a performance period stretching to 2032, wherein the facility would hold detainees. The facility would have to begin accepting detainees within 26 months after the reward of a contract.
ICE would require the facility to house both male and female detainees. The detention center would have to provide “easy access to legal services,” exercise space and time, visitation for families and attorneys, a law library, cafeteria-styled food services, and social and religious services.
ICE said a centralized facility near Chicago is needed to eliminate the need to keep using 26 detention facilities independently contracted across six states in the Midwest.
Dwight Village President Jared Anderson said the detention facility would create nearly 300 high-paying jobs for the community, which suffered an economic blow when the state-owned Dwight Correctional Center closed in 2013.
The proposal has drawn widespread criticism from activists across Central and Northern Illinois. Hundreds of opponents of the detention facility united under the banner of No ICE Dwight have attended the village’s last several board meetings to stand against the proposal.
Democrats in the Illinois House are advancing House Bill 2040 in a push to block any privately-run immigration detention facilities in the state, including the facility in Dwight. The bill would ban local municipalities or law enforcement agencies from entering into contracts, receiving payments, providing payments or giving any financial incentives to a detention facility operated by a private company.
ICA proposed paying the village of Dwight a per-bed fee in exchange for the village running water and sewer infrastructure out to the detention site. If passed, HB 2040 could cripple that agreement.
It is unclear if ICA or any other companies have yet submitted a proposal to ICE. A list of interested vendors is not publicly accessible on a government website.