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US seeks contractor for migrant shelter in Guantanamo with Spanish and Haitian Creole-speaking guards

2021-09-23T09:11:58.885Z

The island's operations center has a capacity for 120 people and has been used before for migrants rescued from the sea. The Biden administration says it does not plan to transfer asylum seekers there from the border.



By Jacob Soboroff and Ken Dilanian -

NBC News

As it struggles to deal with the arrival of thousands of Haitian migrants at the southern border, the Biden Administration is seeking a private company to operate a migrant detention center at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with the requirement that some of the guards speak

Creole

and Spanish, according to public records consulted by our sister network NBC News.

The little-known migrant detention center at the naval base has the capacity to house 120 people, according to the documents.

But

"it will have an estimated daily population of 20 people,"

according to the tender issued on Friday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, for its acronym in English).

"The service provider will be responsible for having on site the necessary equipment to erect temporary shelters for a population that exceeds 120 and is up to 400 migrants in a possible wave," the tender reads.

This 2006 file photo shows the prison of the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Brennan Linsley / AP

There is no direct indication in the records that the Biden Administration plans to transfer the migrants who are on the southern border to Guantanamo Bay.

Recently, migrants rescued at sea were housed there for short periods.

In response to a request for comment from NBC News, DHS said it "does not and will not send Haitian nationals found on the southwestern border to the Migrant Operations Center [MOC] in Guantanamo Bay. For decades. MOC has been used to process migrants intercepted at sea for relocation to other countries. The recently published request for information is a typical and routine response, a first step in a contract renewal, and is not border related southwest".

[Haitian migrants at the border have been released into the United States "on a very large scale"]

Guantanamo Bay is known to be the site of a prison for high-risk terrorism suspects.

Among those detained there is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, who is on trial by a military commission.

But the base has long included a DHS immigration detention center,

a place with a controversial past related to Haiti.

During the George HW Bush Administration from 1991 to 1993, when many Haitians tried to flee the country to seek asylum in Florida, about 12,000 migrants from that country were sent to Guantanamo under a policy supervised by then-Attorney General William Barr.

Immigrant advocates said at the time that the policy was driven in part by the fact that some of the Haitians were positive for the HIV virus.

Mothers and children sleeping on cardboard: this is what the migratory chaos looks like in the City of Acuña

Sept.

22, 202102: 24

"It is very concerning that the Administration is considering using Guantánamo to detain Haitian asylum seekers or others," said Wendy Young, president of the immigrant advocacy group

Kids in Need of Defense

.

"It's a feeling of

déjà vu,

" he

added.

Guantanamo "was used in the early 1990s and proved to be very poor in terms of providing the services that migrant families and children urgently need, including legal representation," Young explained.

Instead of resorting to a response based on deterrence and strict application of the law, the Administration should comply with its legal and ethical obligation to allow Haitians to apply for asylum.

Conditions in Haiti highlight how essential this is, ”he added.

Every government in recent years has spent millions of dollars on infrastructure at these DHS facilities

, building concrete slabs for tents and buildings with rudimentary latrines.

Former President Donald Trump talked about sending migrants there, but never did, according to a book by an author who was later identified as Miles Taylor, a former DHS official.

"Before the president could publicly defend the concept, officials rejected it," Taylor wrote.

[Hundreds of Haitian migrants stay in Mexico and request political asylum]

The new DHS tender states that the winner will have to provide tents and cots

and that “the contractor must be able to assemble and have them ready on short notice,” adding: “In addition, the service provider must maintain a list of at least 50 people. that they meet the minimum requirements for the work of an unarmed custodial officer and have a viable contingency plan to deploy these people within 24 hours of notification ”.

He adds: “At least 10% of the added staff must be fluent in Spanish and

Haitian

Creole.

Air transport to and from the facilities is the sole responsibility of the service provider ”.


Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2021-09-23

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