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Illegal Aliens — good for ‘murica, good for bidnes…

2 July 2006

RAYMONDVILLE, Texas (AP) – Ground has been broken for a 2,000-bed detention center to help end the “catch and release” policy for non-Mexican illegal immigrants, federal officials said.News of the facility comes just weeks after President Bush’s May 15 vow to continue to add detention space for immigrants awaiting hearings or deportation proceedings.

While Mexican illegal immigrants are quickly brought to the border and deported back to Mexico, immigrants from countries other than Mexico have routinely been processed by Customs and Border Protection officials and released with a notice to appear before an immigration judge at a later date.

The “catch and release” system has been blamed on a lack of detention space.

The planned $50 million facility would so far be the largest of five such facilities in Texas, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Nina Pruneda said in Wednesday’s edition of the weekly Raymondville Chronicle.

“Secretary Michael Chertoff is moving (ICE) away from catch and release to catch and return,” Pruneda said.

News of the new facility comes a week after Florida-based GEO Group Inc. announced a $10.6 million, 575-bed expansion, to its 875-bed facility for federal detainees in Del Rio.

Other immigration detention centers are in Port Isabel, Laredo, Pearsall, and Taylor.

Officials in Raymondville said the facility would bring 150 to 200 jobs to the beleaguered county in the first month, and a total of 400 jobs once center is completed.

Raymondville city commissioners on Monday agreed to sell a 53-acre parcel of city parkland for the facility, which was unanimously approved by the Willacy County Commissioner’s Court.

“I’m very happy as we need economic development in our community,” County Judge Simon Salinas said.

It was not clear Wednesday who would be building or operating the facility, though county construction crews have already been grading the site.

What no one is talking about is that Raymondville is a for-profit business, run by Corrections Corp of America, which presently runs the Willacy County Jail in Raymondville… beset by continual scandals involving prisoner abuse, mismanagement and financial impropriety. Ah, capitalism at its best.

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