AOC slams ‘shameful’ plan to detain Haitians at Guantanamo Bay as Biden admin seeks Creole-speaking guards

Up to 400 per day could be held under a ‘surge event’ that would place migrants in rapidly assembled temporary housing, including tents and cots

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 23 September 2021 01:11
U.S. Steps Up Deportation Of Haitian Migrants

The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba could receive new guests as the Biden administration struggles with the surge of Haitians illegally crossing the US’s southern border, according to reports.

The move caused an immediate fracture between the White House and the progressive edges of the Democratic party, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling the plan "utterly shameful". Fellow Squad member Ilhan Omar said it was an "embarrassingly bad decision", adding: "Do better".

NBC News reported that the Department of Homeland Security is seeking a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at the base, with the requirement some of the guards speak fluent Spanish and Haitian Creole.

The story was published online just as Democrats held a press conference demanding an end to "racism of how they’re being treated", with Andy Levin tweeting "Haitian lives matter".

The White House, DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not immediately respond to requests for comment when contacted by the outlet.

In a government listing, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it’s looking for private contractors to guard the Migrant Operations Center at the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.

While the facility is estimated to hold 20 people per day, the listing suggests migrants could be placed in temporary housing at the site under contingencies for a "surge event" of up to 400 people.

The listing says the facility has a capacity of 120, meaning the vast majority of "migrants and other vulnerable populations" detained at Guantanamo Bay would be placed in hastily assembled living conditions during a surge.

"This equipment includes tents and cots, and the contractor must be able to have these assembled and ready with little notice. In addition, the service provider must maintain a roster of at least 50 individuals," the listing says.

"At least 10% of the augmented personnel must be fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole."

The listing was first reported by NBC News’s Ken Dilanian along with Jacob Soboroff, who scrutinised the Trump administration’s immigration policies in the bestselling book Separated: Inside an American Tragedy.

They note that the former president Donald Trump reportedly considered sending immigrants to the base, but that officials quashed the idea before it could be made public.

That claim was made by former DHS official Miles Taylor writing under the Anonymous pseudonym in the book, A Warning.

He said Trump proposed designating illegal immigrants as "enemy combatants" and shipping them to Guantanamo Bay alongside hardened terrorists, which includes the architect of the 9/11 terror attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

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