ICE facilities in Texas house more than half of detainees with COVID in US

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Migrant detention centers in Texas currently house more than half of all detainees with COVID-19 in the country, federal data shows.

Currently, 600 migrants in detention facilities around the country have COVID-19 and are under isolation or monitoring, according to data released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday. Of those, 319 are in Texas centers, located in or near Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio.

One of Texas’ 30 detention facilities, a La Quinta Inn in Pearsall about 60 miles southwest of San Antonio — also called the House of Peace — had 66 confirmed cases under isolation or monitoring as of Monday, making it the facility with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Another facility, a Best Western hotel in El Paso, had the second-highest number of detainees with COVID-19 in the country with 42 confirmed cases under isolation or monitoring. Both of those centers are operated by Endeavors, a private contractor based in San Antonio.

Rounding out the top five in the US are the Houston Contract Detention Facility with 38 confirmed cases, the IAH Polk Adult Detention Facility, also in Houston, with 33 cases and the Karnes County Residential Center, south of San Antonio, with 30. Sixteen Texas detention centers had 4 or less confirmed cases of COVID, including all seven facilities in the Dallas Field Office.

There are more than 130 detention centers in the US, ICE data shows.

There were 23,445 people total in ICE custody as of Sept. 3, according to ICE data.

ICE signed a short-term contract with Endeavors in March to “provide temporary shelter and processing services for families who have not been expelled,” according to a statement by Acting Director Tae D. Johnson. The $86.9 million contract was intended to provide 1,239 beds and other services, including “a comprehensive health assessment that includes COVID-19 testing.”

In April, Endeavors was awarded another contract, worth as much as $530 million, to continue managing the arrival of migrant children at the southern border. That contract was the second-largest ever awarded by ICE, Axois reported.

ICE and Endeavors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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