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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The proposed Tunica development to house unaccompanied minors is not receiving support

By Vaseline May31,2024
The proposed Tunica development to house unaccompanied minors is not receiving support

The proposed Tunica development to house unaccompanied minors is not receiving support

(Image by Brent Wheeler/YouTube – Tunica Mississippi – The Abandoned Grand Casino Property)

  • Read more about Rapid Deployment, the company at the center of the proposed minor migrant project.

Tunica County supervisors voted 3-2 Thursday to support a proposal to place an “influx care facility” for unaccompanied migrant children under the age of 17 on the site of a former Harrah’s casino property.

A representative from Rapid Deployment, the company seeking to land the influx care facility, told regulators they were responding to a request for proposal from the federal government. Shantrell Nicks said the project, aimed at housing unaccompanied minors, would be fully funded by the federal government.

Tunica County Board of Supervisors Meeting.

Nicks called the project a “human effort” that developers believed could “save the federal government money” by helping children crossing the border into the United States while utilizing a site that has been vacant for more than a decade .

She said the site would be self-contained and the minors would not leave the premises.

“There will be no visitors in and out of the site,” Shantrell Nicks said. “This is a temporary solution to put them in a temporary place outside tents at the border.”

Nicks told county officials the facility would have a maximum of 250 minors.

You can watch the Tunica Board of Supervisors meeting here.

Both Republicans and Democrats at the local and state levels have opposed the Tunica proposal since it was announced, including Governor Tate Reeves’ office, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and state lawmakers.

The local vote comes after the public became aware of the proposal last week. However, the name of the organization in question was hidden.

Who is Rapid Deployment?

According to GovTribe, a federal contract and grant aggregator, Rapid Development is a profitable, mobile, Alabama-based company that has been awarded multiple federal contracts to provide emergency response support services and emergency facilities to government agencies. The company has worked with Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and others.

“Rapid Deployment Inc. holds several major indefinite vehicle awards, enabling its broad mission sets for emergency preparedness and response,” notes GovTribe. “This includes an $834 million IDIQ and BPA from HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response for domestic and international Emergency Response Support Services, a $75 billion IDIQ from HHS’s Administration for Children and Families for rapid deployment and wraparound services to support unaccompanied children programs, and an $89 million IDV issued by the Department of the Army for COVID-related temporary housing, food, transportation and logistics for Navy and Marine Corps operations.”

It is also noted that the company provided COVID response services such as lodging, food and transportation to the Department of the Navy fleets in Virginia, Florida and Mississippi.

According to the El Paso Times, Rapid Deployment was the contractor at the Fort Bliss ICF site, which was activated in March 2021 but is now closed. The El Paso Times noted in September 2021 that the contract there was extended and modified numerous times, skyrocketing to more than $1.5 billion by December 2021.

Rapid Deployment has received nearly $3.6 billion in government contracts since fiscal year 2020, according to USASpending.gov, the open data source for federal spending information.

(Graph from USASpending.gov)

About the ICF RFP

As previously reported by Magnolia Tribune, a U.S. Health & Human Services Performance Work Statement updated on May 20, 2024 was amended to include Mississippi as one of 16 states where inflow care facilities (ICF) would be considered in the future.

READ MORE: Unaccompanied Minors Rise Under Biden; Mississippi’s intake location is being considered

The document, which was essentially a request for proposals, provided guidance for property owners seeking to be designated as an ICF in the migrant unaccompanied minors program. It included location requirements for everything from beds to recreational and educational spaces to dining and medical facilities and clothing and transportation facilities.

Site locations had to adhere to the following general guidelines:

  • State child licenses are allowed
  • Within 30 miles of a certified pediatric facility
  • Within 100 miles of a primary major or medium hub airport
  • Meets local zoning requirements
  • Road access for tractor units and large passenger buses
  • Not within a minimum radius of 10 miles from a hazardous waste or contamination site
  • In a province or city where no less than 2% Spanish-speaking people live
  • Buildings and outdoor recreation areas outside the 100/500-year floodplain
  • No adverse effects on the environment, historical heritage or conservation
  • Relatively moderate or lower than natural risk

For more information about the ICF program, the increase in unaccompanied minors entering the U.S., the Performance Work Statement and the efforts of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, click here.

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