Verify: The real deal on the Conroe immigrant detention center

Is another new detention center to lock up undocumented immigrants coming to Conroe? KHOU verifies whether the plans to build one are real.

CONROE, Texas -- Another new detention center to lock up undocumented immigrants is coming to Conroe.

The contract was awarded under President Trump’s expanded deportation program.

“It’s wrong, because it’s a racial tactic,” said an undocumented immigrant we agreed to call “Pablo.” “We’re all people, we’re all humans.”

GEO Group, a private prison company, just announced plans for the new facility. The company will design, finance, build and operate it under an initial 10-year contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

That’s the agency whose officers we’ve often seen arrest and detain undocumented immigrants. 

“I believe they should let them go, because we only come here to work,” Pablo said.

But even Pablo believes those committing crimes should be treated like any other law breaker, here legally or otherwise.

Hundreds of KHOU viewers posted comments on our Facebook page about this story.

“Is this for real?” Christine Atkinson wrote.

“There’s already a 1,200 bed facility in Conroe for ICE,” wrote Arron Alan.

Allan Horner called it a win-win.

“This facility will give jobs to legal citizens who live in the area,” wrote Horner.

Given all of the interest, we decided to verify viewer comments. We used GEO Group, ICE, and the Montgomery County government as sources.

Here’s what we found:

  • The project is definitely real.
  • GEO Group says the $110 million dollar facility will include 1000 beds.
  • ICE confirms that three other such facilities already exist in the area, in Conroe, Livingston, and Houston.
  • According to Montgomery County officials, the prison will eventually employ about 300 people.
  • That does not include construction-related jobs.

It’s more space to house more people who might be sent back to their home countries.

“I’d probably come back,” Pablo freely admitted to us.

Critics have long argued that for-profit prisons simply encourage more arrests. But many people support plans to step-up immigration enforcement.

VERIFY: Sources

GEO Group: https://www.geogroup.com/

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: https://www.ice.gov/

Montgomery County: http://www.mctx.org/

VERIFY: Resources

GEO Group press release: http://investors.geogroup.com/file/Index?KeyFile=2000088787

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