The Department of Homeland Security is in search of a private contractor to reopen and operate a migrant detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, NBC reports. The agency is specifically seeking guards who speak Haitian Creole. DHS estimates that the existing facility, last used for detention in the 1990s and with a capacity of 120, “will have an estimated daily population of 20 people,” according to the solicitation for bids obtained by NBC. However, DHS also wrote, that population may “exceed 120 and up to 400 migrants in a surge event.”
The migrant detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and the prison housing terrorism suspects are separate. The move comes as the government struggles to house a growing number of Haitian migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, a surge that has resulted in shocking images of thousands of migrants crowding under bridges or being rounded up by Border Protection agents on horseback.
DHS issued a statement saying that the request for information was merely the first step in renewing a 2002 contract that will expire in May 2022. The agency said it “is not and will not send Haitian nationals being encountered at the southwest border to the Migrant Operations Center (MOC) in Guantanamo Bay.”