Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said a search by the Biden administration for a contractor to run a detention facility for migrants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was “utterly shameful” in a tweet Wednesday, as focus intensifies on large numbers of Haitian migrants on the southern border.
The tweet from Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was in reaction to an NBC News story that highlighted a search by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a contractor to take charge of a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base. The posting said at “least 10% of the augmented personnel must be fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole.”
The facility is not new. It was established in 2002 by an executive order from former President George W. Bush. Nevertheless, the timing of the posting was notable because of the recent surge of Haitian migrants to the border.
The Department of Homeland Security says 1,401 of those migrants were deported while less then 5,000 remain in Del Rio, Texas. Some migrants have been released into the U.S. But the department said that it will not be sending migrants from Del Rio to Guantanamo Bay.
“DHS is not and will not send Haitian nationals being encountered at the southwest border to the Migrant Operations Center (MOC) in Guantanamo Bay,” DHS said in a statement to Fox News. “The MOC has been used for decades to process migrants interdicted at sea for third-country resettlement. The request for information (RFI) recently posted is a typical, routine first step in a contract renewal, and unrelated to the Southwest Border.”
DHS added: “The contract was initially awarded in 2002 with the current term ending on May 31, 2022. Migrants awaiting resettlement who are not in ICE custody at the MOC are neither detained nor imprisoned and are free at any time to return to their country of origin.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to a request for comment asking for clarification on her tweet and a response to the DHS statement, which was first reported by NBC.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Griff Jenkins and Bill Melugin contributed to this report.