As Detentions Grow, ICE Looks for More Space in Minnesota

October 18, 2017 11:16 PM

Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants space for hundreds of additional jail cells, and is sending a request for information that identifies the four cities in which its looking to expand.

Those are Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City and St. Paul.  


When asked, an ICE spokesman did not say why St. Paul was on the list. All four are sanctuary cities.  


ICE is using six county jails across Minnesota to hold people without legal status. The Sherburne County Sheriff's website says most of its 697 jail cells are rented to the federal government. 

Traditionally, three county jails that have contracted with ICE. That has since expanded to farther-reaching facilities like Grand Forks, Worthington, Willmar and places that have not traditionally held detainees. 

* The United States Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is issuing this Request for Information to identify multiple possible detention sites to hold criminal aliens and other immigration violators in support of its public safety mission under the authority of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. These sites will be located in the greater Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, and Salt Lake City areas.

Area of Responsibility

Facility Capacity Location (within 180 mile-ground commute to the office listed below)
Chicago 400-1200

101 W. Congress Pkwy

Chicago, IL 60605

Detroit 200-600

333 Mt. Elliott St.

Detroit, MI 48207

St. Paul 200-600

1 Federal Drive

Fort Snelling, MN 55111

Salt Lake City 200-600

2975 Decker Lake Dr.

West Valley City, UT 84119

* courtesy Federal Business Opportunities

ICE figures show agents detained 43 percent more people between January and September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. 

Immigration lawyer Kim Hunter said that increase is driving ICE's request for more jail cells. 

"You're seeing in this community a two-front push," Hunter said. "One is to detain everyone who is encountered by immigration, regardless of criminal issues, or secondly, a large push to detain for longer periods." 

She said, "the more beds you have, the longer you detain people, the more you fight back and appeal bond decisions, the longer people are in detention, and at some point they are more likely to give up and go home." 

Ultimately, Hunter predicts there will be more Minnesota jails cashing in on lucrative ICE contracts because the federal government pays top dollar for jail space. Hunter said ICE could acquire the 200-600 beds in expanded county jails, its own federal prison or it could build more private prisons. It could even lobby to open closed prisons like the one in Appleton, Minnesota. 


Farrah Fazal

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