UPDATE: Five hours after the initial NBC News story was published, the Department of Homeland Security provided clarity to the network.
Update: DHS says it “is not and will not send Haitian nationals being encountered at the southwest border to…Guanta… https://t.co/Xrv41kCnQa— Ken Dilanian (@Ken Dilanian) 1632360574.0
Original story below:
The Biden White House is receiving harsh pushback from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) as the president meets in the Oval Office to shore up progressive support for his "Build Back Better" agenda.
On Wednesday, NBC News reported "the Biden administration is seeking a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a requirement that some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole, according to government records."
Jacob Soboroff, the author of The New York Times bestselling book Separated: Inside an American Tragedy on the Trump administration's immigration policies, wrote the report with Ken Dilanian.
"A little-known immigrant holding facility on the base has a capacity of 120 people, the records say, and it 'will have an estimated daily population of 20 people,' according to a solicitation for bids issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security," the pair reported.
The DHS immigration facility at Gitmo has "a controversial past linked to Haiti."
"During the George H.W. Bush administration from 1991 to 1993, when many Haitians sought to flee the country to seek asylum in Florida, as many as 12,000 were sent to Guantánamo Bay under a policy overseen by then-Attorney General William Barr," NBC News reported. "President Donald Trump talked about sending migrants there, but he never did, according to a book by an author later identified as Miles Taylor, a former DHS official."
Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, only needed two words to offer her thoughts on the idea.
"Utterly shameful," she wrote.
Utterly shameful. https://t.co/yWNKTCVa24— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1632347619.0
Ocasio-Cortez wasn't the only Democrat in Congress criticizing the Biden administration over the move.
"The treatment of Haitian immigrants by this administration is going from bad to worse. Seeking asylum is not a crime," Rep. Chuy García (D-IL) tweeted, adding the hashtag for "Close Gitmo Now."
"This is an embarrassingly bad decision. Do better," urged Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
NBC News published the report online as Democrats were holding a press conference urging better treatment of Haitian refugees by the administration.