Washington, DC – Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) urged the House Homeland Security Committee to postpone any contract negotiations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) related to the El Centro ICE Processing Center until an economic impact study is conducted to determine how local jobs and the surrounding community would be affected.
“It is in the best interest of my constituents to delay any decision related to moving or closing the El Centro ICE Processing Center until information on how the proposed changes will affect employment is available,” said Rep. Vargas. “Over the last several years Imperial County has experienced the highest unemployment rate in the nation and closing this facility will place further economic stress on those in the region.”
ICE’s existing El Centro Processing Center maintains approximately 500 beds, employing approximately 430 full-time and 50 part-time individuals, the majority of whom are from the 51st Congressional District. Earlier this year, employees of the current ICE Processing Center were informed that detention operations would be moving to a different facility in June 2014. In addition, they were told that an employment transfer to the new facility was not guaranteed.
“My priority is keeping jobs in the Imperial Valley,” said Rep. Vargas. “Closing the El Centro Processing Center without a clear path for employees to transition to a new facility will not only hurt the region’s economy, but also put families, who rely on these jobs, in grave financial danger.”