Homeland detention

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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.

Detention Capability

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." [1]

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