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British company aims to open immigration detention center

The UK private prison company Serco has moved one step closer to opening a new family detention center with a successful proposal to Texas county officials.

According to The Guardian, the company has been lobbying officials to allow Serco to open a family detention center in Jim Wells County. The company, which already runs private detention centers in both the UK and Australia, has been lobbying U.S. officials for over a year for contracts to detain immigrant families in their private detention centers. Their proposal is to turn a shuttered nursing home in San Diego Texas into a family detention center with the capability of holding up to 600 detainees. 

The county commissioners voted to begin negotiations with ICE and Serco for the proposed new family detention center. County Judge Pedro Treviño Jr. said that the new detention center would create around 200 jobs for the community. 

"People are most excited in the jobs it would create," Treviño said. "We know family detention centers are highly controversial and want to put all our ducks in a row and gather facts before we make our final decision." 

Serco has been operating private detention centers in both the UK and Australia for many years, and have a history of abuse allegations, riots, and detainee self-harm. Mohammad Abdollahi, director of advocacy for Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), told The Guardian, "There is no 'right' way to detain families, but they have shown, around the world, everything that is wrong with how you do it."