- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

GRANTS, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico county has conditionally approved a contract to house Haitian immigration detainees at a private prison.

The Cibola County Commission voted Wednesday to approve the contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reported The Gallup Independent (https://bit.ly/2dPrKXT ). County attorney Dave Pato said the contract approval is contingent upon County Manager Tony Boyd negotiating and executing a contract with the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the private facility.

The federal Bureau of Prisons announced unexpectedly in August that it was closing facilities in five states. Commission Chairman Walter Jaramillo said some communities were able to stabilize their economy, but the closure hit Cibola County hard.

“We definitely need to make this work,” said Jaramillo. “We need to sign this tonight. We’re down to the 11th hour.”

Jeb Beasley, CCA Managing Director of Partnership Relations in Nashville, said the company began negotiating with ICE after the federal Bureau of Prisons decided not to renew its contract with CCA.

“They’ve got a crisis at the border,” said Beasley. “They have about 14,000 Haitians detained today and are expecting another probably 35,000 in the coming months.”

The company still has about 160 employees in Cibola County, he said, and would hire about 100 more for the ICE contract. Beasley said he hopes many of the new workers will be those who were recently let go.

The prison, Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, was scheduled to shut down at midnight Sunday. Beasley said the contract approval will allow ICE to begin renting the facility and allow the CCA to reach out to its former employees.

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Information from: Gallup Independent, https://www.gallupindependent.com


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