Umm... I REALLY don't like this...
Tuesday, February 07, 2006 at 07:53 AM
KBR wins a new government contract. To make detention centers in the U.S.
The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary that has been criticized for overcharging the Pentagon for its work in Iraq.
KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space [emphasis added by yours truly], company executives said. KBR, which announced the contract last month, had a similar contract with immigration agencies from 2000 to last year.
The contract with the Corps of Engineers runs one year, with four optional one-year extensions. Officials of the corps said that they had solicited bids and that KBR was the lone responder.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jamie Zuieback, said KBR would build the centers only in an emergency like the one when thousands of Cubans floated on rafts to the United States. She emphasized that the centers might never be built if such an emergency did not arise.
"It's the type of contract that could be used in some kind of mass migration," Ms. Zuieback said.
A spokesman for the corps, Clayton Church, said that the centers could be at unused military sites or temporary structures and that each one would hold up to 5,000 people.
"When there's a large influx of people into the United States, how are we going to feed, house and protect them?" Mr. Church asked. "That's why these kinds of contracts are there."
So, here's the part I don't like: "or for new programs that require additional detention space."
Like what? What kind of new programs are we referring to here? Why would additional detention space be needed for these "new programs?"
Advocates for immigrants said they feared that the new contract was another indication that the government planned to expand the detention of illegal immigrants, including those seeking asylum.
"It's pretty obvious that the intent of the government is to detain more and more people and to expedite their removal," said Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami.
Ms. Zuieback said the KBR contract was not intended for that.
"It's not part of any day-to-day enforcement," she said.
She added that she could not provide additional information about the company's statement that the contract was also meant to support the rapid development of new programs.
So Immigration and Customs Enforcement's spokesperson cannot provide information about KBR's statement that the contract was also meant to support the rapid development of new programs? Why not? What are these new programs? For gosh sakes, why would the government need additional detention space?
The word "camps" comes to mind...