The sanctuary state of Washington has been hit with a lawsuit over a law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee (D) that will close down facilities where the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency holds criminal illegal aliens.
Last month, Inslee signed into law a plan that bans privately operated detention facilities and prisons, ensuring that ICE’s Northwest Immigration Processing Center (NIPC) in Tacoma, Washington ,operated by the GEO Group — that can hold more than 1,500 criminal illegal aliens – will be shuttered.
GEO Group has now filed a lawsuit against Inslee, alleging that the law is unconstitutional because it violates federal immigration law and subverts federally approved funding for federal immigration detention facilities.
From January 2019 to April 2021, the NIPC detained an average of nearly 840 illegal aliens every day, the lawsuit states. Before the Chinese coronavirus crisis hit the United States, the facility held an average of nearly 1,300 illegal aliens every day.
The lawsuit states:
Absent relief from this Court, EHB 1090 will force GEO to close NWIPC. Thus, under EHB 1090, there would be no dedicated ICE detention facility in the State of Washington, and ICE would be forced to move detainees hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from their families and friends to facilities in other states. [Emphasis added]
The location nearest to NWIPC that may have available beds for ICE detainees is the Yuba County Jail, in California, which is 659 miles away, by drive, and has a total capacity— for county prisoners and ICE detainees alike—of roughly 430 beds, 220 of which might be used for ICE detainees. Yuba County has faced pressure to end its contract with ICE. [Emphasis added]
EHB 1090, by prohibiting the Secretary of Homeland Security from using private detention facilities, overrides Congress’ determination to grant him discretion to place federal immigration detainees in private detention facilities and prohibits a means of federal detention that Congress clearly authorized.
GEO Group is asking the court to declare that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Supremacy Clause and the Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Likewise, GEO Group is asking that Inslee be barred from enforcing the law and allowing the company’s contract to continue through September 2025.
Washington’s move to close privately operated detention facilities and prisons comes as President Joe Biden has reimplemented an Obama-era plan that will phase out the Bureau of Prisons’ 11 privately operated facilities, nearly all of which hold foreign nationals convicted of federal crimes.
The 11 privately operated facilities include nine that are operated by GEO Group, including three facilities that are set to close this year. The eight remaining privately operated facilities’ contracts are set to expire later this year and in 2022. Biden’s order ensures none of those contracts up for renewal will be renewed.
The case is GEO Group v. Inslee, 3:21-cv-05313 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.