Update: Marsha Espinosa of the DHS responded to the report cited below with a tweet on Wednesday evening:
"@DHSgov is not and will not send Haitian nationals being encountered at the southwest border to the Migrant Operations Center (MOC) in Guantanamo Bay."
Original story follows:
The Biden administration intends to contract a migrant detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to deal with the surge of Haitian migrants at the southern border. They are requesting, as part of the solicitation bid, that at least some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the immigrant holding facility would house 20 people daily on the base with a capacity of 120 people.
"The service provider shall be responsible for maintaining on-site the necessary equipment to erect temporary housing facilities for populations that exceed 120 and up to 400 migrants in a surge event," reads the contract solicitation.
In the recent past, migrants picked up at sea have been housed there for short periods. The base has long included a DHS immigration holding facility — one with a controversial past linked to Haiti, according to NBC.
As many as 12,000 Haitians seeking asylum in Florida during the George H.W. Bush administration from 1991 to 1993 were sent to Guantanamo Bay under a policy overseen by then-Attorney General William Barr.
However, there is no indication the Biden administration will transfer migrants from the southern border to Guantanamo Bay, according to records.
The solicitation bid also mandates the winning bidder supplies tents and cots and that "the contractor must be able to have these assembled and ready with little notice."
"In addition, the service provider must maintain a roster of at least 50 individuals who meet the minimum requirements of the unarmed custody officer job classification and have a viable contingency plan to deploy these individuals within 24 hours of notification."
It adds: "At least 10% of the augmented personnel must be fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole. Air transportation to/from the facility is the sole responsibility of the service provider."
Neither the White House, DHS, nor Immigrations and Customs Enforcement responded to requests by NBC for comment.
Guantanamo Bay previously held high-value terrorism detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the confessed 9/11 mastermind.
Immigrants' advocates said the then-immigration policy was driven in part by some Haitians who were HIV-positive.
"It's highly concerning that the administration may be considering using Guantanamo to detain Haitian asylum-seekers or others," said Wendy Young, president of the immigrant advocacy group Kids in Need of Defense. "It's a sense of deja vu all over again."
Guantanamo "was used in the early 1990s and proved highly deficient in terms of providing the services that migrant families and children urgently need, including legal representation," said Young.
"Instead of defaulting to a law enforcement response grounded in deterrence, the administration should instead live up to our legal and ethical obligation to allow Haitians to apply for asylum. Conditions in Haiti underscore how essential that is."
Successive administrations spent millions on infrastructure at the DHS facility, building cement pads for tents and buildings with crude latrines.
Former US President Donald Trump contemplated sending migrants there but never did, according to an author and former DHS official, Miles Taylor.
"Before the president could make a public case for the concept, officials quashed it," he wrote.
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