Tell Your Reps: Should Private Companies Run Immigration Detention Centers?
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by Countable | 6.21.18
What’s the story?
- Many unauthorized immigrants detained as part of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy are being held in detention centers run by for-profit prison companies.
- Almost 75 percent of immigrants held each day in detention centers are kept in privately-run facilities.
- An investigation by the Texas Tribune found that:
"Taxpayers have paid more than $1.5 billion in the past four years to private companies operating immigrant youth shelters accused of serious lapses in care, including neglect and sexual and physical abuse."
- The Dallas News discovered that the GEO Group, which runs one of the country’s largest private immigration detention centers, is a top donor for two Texas congressmen. It also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Trump-aligned super PAC and hosted its annual conference at one of Trump’s golf resorts. GEO's shares have risen by more than 8 percent in 2018.
How private prisons work
- Private prisons receive stipends from the government to manage and operate detention facilities.
- In order to receive the stipend, the private-prison’s costs must be lower than that of a public prison.
“And just like any business, the more costs they can cut, the bigger that profit margin will be,” CNBC wrote. “But many times, that results in poor quality of care for prisoners.”
- ICE’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget says a "Longer Average Length of Stay (ALOS) will also drive the need for additional detention beds." GEO officials are predicting a spike in earnings with increased immigration detentions, and increased immigration detention time.
What do you think?
Do you support the federal government’s use of private detention centers? Or should the Department of Justice phase out existing contracts with private prison and detention companies? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: Mike Blake / Reuters)
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