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ICE asks for more room for detainees, could build in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s already building a new prison, but the Trump Administration wants to find somewhere else to stick undocumented immigrants arrested by ICE agents.

Current detention centers hold up to forty-eight thousand detainees, but USA Today reports the Trump Administration needs room for another eleven million people.

“There are some real problems with how these detention facilities are being run,” said Anna Thomas, with ACLU Utah, adding that the national organization has filed multiple lawsuits for bad conditions in the centers. “The ACLU is definitely concerned.”


FILE – In this April 12, 2017, file photo, students and other immigration-rights supporters gather outside tents by the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash. Washington state on Wednesday, Sept. 20, sued the operator of the detention center over claims it did not pay detainees the state’s minimum wage for work performed over a decade. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

She’s worried adding more people to these centers will only make the problem worse.

Meanwhile, ICE is looking for sites to build new detention centers in various cities – Salt Lake City included. If it comes to that Thomas said she’s confident ACLU Utah would resist. Thomas argued that it makes more sense and is cheaper to let people continue their lives until a decision is made about citizenship.

“There are plenty of ways to allow people to live productively and safely while their legal situation is being figured out,” Thomas said.