The Bluebonnet Detention Center was originally built in 2010 by Texas state to house detainees for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and will now transition to an ICE detention center. The facility has never been used before, according to an ICE statement.
“This Bluebonnet Detention Center acts as a win-win for the state and federal governments,” said Marc J. Moore, ICE field office director. “ICE needed additional high-quality bed space to accommodate the huge influx of Central Americans who arrived at the U.S. Southern border this year. And Jones County, Texas, now has its nine-year building investment finally put to good use.”
The new facility will be able to house 1,000 ICE detainees while they are processed and a judge ultimately decides through video conference if they are to be admitted into the United States or removed to their countries of origin.
The 100,000 square feet facility can easily be expanded if needed.
“I’m thrilled with my staff for professionally tackling all the operational and red-tape hurdles to get BBDC fully ready for move in in such a short amount of time,” Moore said.
According to ICE, the detention facility is well-equipped. It has seven video-teleconferencing immigration courtrooms, seven booths for asylum interviews, tablet devices for detainees, and outdoor recreation spaces.
There are 35 medical staff to attend to the inmates 24/7.
“We’re able to have a dentist on staff, a gynecologist on staff, nurse practitioners, nurses, RNs and LVNs,” says Director of Nursing, Vanessa Enriquez, reported Big Country.
The detainees will be processed within 12 hours upon entry, and 25 dorms will be able to house 1,000 detainees, with a separate section for 72 women.
Moore hopes that the facility will become useful after a decade of vacancy.
“Jones County now has something that will put to use something that’s been nine years in the making,” Moore said.
ICE currently has funding for 52,000 average daily ICE detention bed across the United States, a 25 percent increase over 2017, according to the White House.