A "Gulag Americano"? It was announced January 24, 2006, by the "engineering and construction firm" Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of the Halliburton Company, that it had "just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide 'temporary detention and processing capabilities'," Peter Dale Scott reported January 31, 2006.
The five-year contract "calls for preparing for 'an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs' in the event of other emergencies, such as 'a natural disaster.' The release offered no details about where Halliburton was to build these facilities, or when," Scott wrote.
"The announcement comes at an opportune time for Halliburton since the Bush administration has accelerated the number of immigration arrests and prosecutions nationally, but most remarkably in the Houston area, where Halliburton is headquartered," Halliburton Watch commented January 24, 2006. "The number of immigration prosecutions is dramatically skewed in favor of Halliburton's hometown in Texas even though over half of the 1.1 million people entering the United States illegally in 2004 crossed the border through Arizona."
"For those who follow covert government operations abroad and at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 'readiness exercise' in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary 'refugees,' in the context of 'uncontrolled population movements' over the Mexican border into the United States. North's activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress and the Justice Department. The concerns persist," Scott said.
"'Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters,' says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. 'They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo,'" Scott wrote.
According to a November 2, 2005, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fact Sheet, the FY2006 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill provided funding to enable DHS "to add 2,000 new beds, bringing the total number of beds up to about 20,000," allowing DHS "to remove thousands of illegal immigrants from our country."
As of October 2005, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), DHS, "operate[d] 16 detention centers in eight states, and one in Puerto Rico." 
Related SourceWatch Resources
- enemy combatant
- Establishing martial law in the United States
- George W. Bush's domestic spying
- global detention system
- homeland security
- illegal immigration
- Julie L. Myers
- Michael Chertoff
- Patriot Act I
- prison-industrial complex
- state of national emergency
- treating dissent as treason
U.S. Government Information
- Office of Detention and Removal (DRO), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security website. "DRO promotes public safety and national security by ensuring the departure from the United States of all removable aliens through the fair and effective enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws."
- Alison Siskin, "Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues," Congressional Research Service (Federation of American Scientists (FAS)), April 28, 2004.
- Jennifer E. Lake and Blas Nuñez-Neto, Coordinators, Homeland Security Department: FY2006 Appropriations, Congressional Research Service (FAS), June 29, 2005 (updated).
- Press Release: DHS Announces Long-Term Border and Immigration Strategy, Department of Homeland Security, November 2, 2005.
- Press Release: Fact Sheet: Secure Border Initiative, Department of Homeland Security, November 2, 2005.
Articles & Commentary
- Dan Eggen, "Rules on Detention Widened. FBI, Marshals Can Hold Foreigners," Washington Post, March 20, 2003.
- "CRS Report Addresses Immigration-Related Detention," VisaLaw.com, May 17, 2004.
- Dan Frosch, "Detention Center Blues," In These Times, June 14, 2004.
- "U.S. Concentration Camps: FEMA and the REX 84 Program," The Awakening News, September 3, 2004.
- "Homeland Security Chief Nominee Chertoff Oversaw Detention of Hundreds of Arabs and Muslims After 9/11," Democracy Now!, January 12, 2005.
- Michael Riley, "Deportation efforts: 1 step ahead, 3 back," The Denver Post (justicejournalism.org), January 16, 2005.
- Paul Hill, "Lifting the curtain: Immigrant detention centers in U.S. charged with abuse," People's Weekly World (Oklahoma Indymedia), October 20, 2005.
- Press Release: "KBR Awarded U.S. Department of Homeland Security Contingency Support Project for Emergency Support Services," Halliburton Company, January 24, 2006.
- "Halliburton gets 'immigration emergency' contract as prosecutions skyrocket in its hometown," Halliburton Watch, January 24, 2006.
- "KBR Awarded US Department of Homeland Security Contingency Support Project for Emergency Support Services," Business Wire (truthout.org), January 24, 2006.
- "Halliburton unit's immigration contract is repeat deal," Associated Press (KLTV 7 / Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas), January 24, 2006.
- Peter Dale Scott, "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps," New America Media / Pacific News Service, January 31, 2006.
- Chris Strohm, "DHS increases capacity to detain, deport illegal immigrants" and "DHS to end 'catch and release' of illegal aliens in October," GovExec.com, February 3, 2006.