El Valle Detention Facility Contract

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RAYMONDVILLE – El Valle Detention Center is only a few weeks into a new contract with Willacy County. CHANNEL 5 NEWS recently received the contract through an open records request. It has details of medical services, employee standards and safety in the workplace.

The agreement between the U.S. Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations and Willacy County Local Government Corporation was approved June 25 in Willacy County.

El Valle Detention Facility houses adult "administrative detainees" who are not charged with a criminal violation but held to ensure their presence for immigration hearing and possible deportation.

Detainees are brought to the facility in three phases. The bed rate will decrease as the phases progress.

In the first phase, 200 detainees were expected from July 18 to July 31. The bed day rate during this period is $160.16. Up to 660 detainees would be moved in beginning August 1 through Sept. 30 at a bed rate of $119.18.

In the last phase, they could move in up to 1,000 detainees at a rate of $107.40 per detainee. The county can request an adjustment in the rate 36 months after the effective date of the agreement. Otherwise, the bed day rate will be in place indefinitely.

The agreement requires the facility to provide health care services. Initial medical screenings should be performed within first 12 hours from arrival. Checking for tuberculosis should also take place within the first 12 hours. Full health assessment and hands-on physical examination should be completed within the first two weeks.

Other health services include infectious disease screening and treatment, emergent, acute and chronic care, on-site sick call, dental services and mental health services.

The mental health program should include group counseling, individual talk therapy, peer-support groups and psychiatric services. When necessary, over-the-counter and prescription medications and required vaccinations will be provided. All routine medical supplies will be provided at no additional cost to the government or the ICE detainee as they are covered in the bed day rate.

Detainees who require a hospital visit should receive medical transportation and will be kept under vigilance of an officer 24-hours per day until they're discharged from a hospital. That officer should be the same gender as the detainee. If the detainee's medical condition requires more care than the facility is prepared to offer, ICE will be notified.

The agreement includes disabled detainees should be kept in the least restrictive environments available and be provided with modifications to have equal access to programs and services.

Those who work at the facility will be required to have a record free of criminal conduct, illegal use of narcotics, alcohol abuse, dishonest conduct and national security concerns. They also must pass an investigation into their background that includes several forms and fingerprint cards and must be authorized to work in the United States.

Non-U.S. citizens, including permanent residents, are ineligible to work in this environment with access to DHS and ICE systems or information.

The agreement states employees must be aware they are at high risk of contracting or transmitting Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and seasonal influenza. Therefore, it's recommended they have vaccinations for all of these.

Both staff and detainees must be educated on sexual abuse and assault through a program required to be developed and implemented at the facility.

The agreement also stipulates punishments for a drop in staffing levels. They must not dip below 95 percent of the approved staffing plan. Job vacancies exceeding 120 days will result in financial consequences of monthly invoice deductions to the Willacy County LGC.

The facility itself will be subject to inspections by ICE. Previous notice is not required. If it receives two consecutive overall ratings of less than acceptable, ICE will stop housing detainees there.

At last check, MTC sent CHANNEL 5 NEWS an email stating they expect to hire 245 people by the end of the year.


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