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The Biden administration has entered into at least one new Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agreement to expand its use of private prisons, despite a campaign promise and an executive order from President Biden to end the use of privately run detention facilities.
On Tuesday, commissioners in Clearfield County, PA approved an agreement for Moshannon Valley Correctional Center to reopen as an immigration detention center. Private prison company GEO group will operate the facility.
“This is a stunning about-face from the Biden administration and its stated commitment to end privatized immigration detention,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “There is significant momentum to end the use of private prisons and immigration detention. President Biden is now dragging us backward.”
The contract comes after another ICE contract in York County, Pa. was ended earlier this year. The ACLU and the ACLU of Pennsylvania have been working alongside community partners to call for the shutdown of additional detention sites where thousands of people languish for months or even years. Many of these sites have well-established records of horrific conditions, reports of abuse and serious medical neglect.
“Abusive conditions within ICE detention centers, particularly those run by private prison companies, are pervasive and well-documented,” said Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU. “It is inexcusable for President Biden to not only break his campaign commitment to end privatized immigration detention, but to further expand the use of private prisons to detain immigrants. The administration must reverse course, and instead build alternatives to support immigrants who seek a better life in this country.”