The Biden administration is looking for a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to NBC News, citing government records. One requirement – some of the guards must speak Spanish and Haitian Creole, and the contractor itself needs to be able to build temporary housing facilities.
“The service provider shall be responsible to maintain on site the necessary equipment to erect temporary housing facilities for populations that exceed 120 and up to 400 migrants in a surge event,” reads the contract solicitation.
A little-known immigrant holding facility on the base has a capacity of 120 people, the records say, and it “will have an estimated daily population of 20 people,” according to a solicitation for bids issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security.
The records provided no indication that the Biden administration is planning to transfer migrants from the southern border to Guantánamo Bay. In the recent past, migrants picked up at sea have been housed there for short periods. -NBC News
What will Democrats say?
In late 2019, then-anonymous Trump admin DHS official Miles Taylor claimed in a book that Trump proposed sending migrants to Guantánamo, leading to mass pearl-clutching on the left over the ‘inhumane’ president who was also both orange and bad.
What will they say now?
Gitmo’s history of housing immigrants
In the early 90s during the George H.W. Bush administration, as many as 12,000 Haitians seeking asylum in Florida were sent to the Guantanamo Bay holding facility overseen by then-Attorney General William Barr. At the time, immigrants’ advocates said that the policy was driven in part by the fact that some Haitians were HIV-positive, according to the report.
“It’s highly concerning that the administration may be considering using Guantánamo to detain Haitian asylum-seekers or others, according to Wendy Young, president of the immigrant advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense, who added “It’s a sense of déjà vu all over again.”
According to Young, Guantánamo “was used in the early 1990s and proved highly deficient in terms of providing the services that migrant families and children urgently need, including legal representation,” and “Instead of defaulting to a law enforcement response grounded in deterrence, the administration should instead live up to our legal and ethical obligation to allow Haitians to apply for asylum. Conditions in Haiti underscore how essential that is.”
The new DHS contract solicitation says that the winning bidder would have to supply tents and cots and that “the contractor must be able to have these assembled and ready with little notice,” adding, “In addition, the service provider must maintain a roster of at least 50 individuals who meet the minimum requirements of the unarmed custody officer job classification and have a viable contingency plan to deploy these individuals within 24 hours of notification.“
“At least 10% of the augmented personnel must be fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole. Air transportation to/from the facility is the sole responsibility of the service provider,” the contract ads.
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