Private Prisons For ICE Detainees A Profitable Business In The U.S.

Holding undocumented immigrants is a lucrative business for private corporation prisons.

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

February 3, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Recently, President Donald Trump, aka, “Trumpnazi” confirmed that additional detention centers for undocumented immigrants will be created, which indicates an anticipated joint operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) involving local, county and state partnerships under 287g and Secure Communities, which will yield thousands of undocumented detainee arrests around the nation.Former President Barack H. Obama, aka, the “Deporter in Chief” deported nearly 3M undocumented immigrants within 8-years. Up to now, Obama holds the record from any prior U.S. President for deporting more undocumented immigrants while in office.
What does it actually mean for the private corporate sector? It seems that Trumpnazi favors the proliferation of private corporate prisons to hold detainees as a lucrative business. Obama attempted to phase out private prisons, but failed. According to a 2015 report by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Private Prison Corporations (PPC’s) earned $3B for holding ICE detainees. An estimated 34,000 of undocumented immigrants are incarcerated daily costing about $159 each to hold.
States do pay for most of the costs to hold undocumented detainees from their jurisdictions and the federal government reimburse the states about half.
The L.A. Times reported in 2015, that to hold ICE detainees in a private prison, it costs between $130 to $330 daily (per day) compared to being place under electronic monitoring bracelet for low risk detainees, which cost $5.00 daily ($155 per month). Electronic bracelet monitoring in some states is also done by BI Inc., a subsidiary of the second largest PPC in the country.
In 2015, 9,300 undocumented immigrants were released under parole or monitoring. Also, 70,000 of detainees were charged criminally for illegal entry or re-entry, which made half of all federal prosecutions.
PPC includes the GEO Group, the 6th largest private prison operation, which operates 95 prisons in the U.S. and abroad and the Corrections Corporation of America, which operates 67 prisons in the U.S., according to a 2016 report by the Memphis Flyer.
In private prisons, undocumented detainees are used for cheap labor, which most don’t get paid for custodial, kitchen and other jobs within the prison while incarcerated before deportations. Detainee deaths have been reported in both ICE detention centers and private prisons, but in most cases, a lack of accountability exists and hardly anyone (ICE agent/prison guard) ever get charged or prosecuted for negligence and abuse resulting in deaths, according to news reports and immigrant rights groups.
In Wisconsin, Fox 6 News recently reported that the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office generated at least $6M in revenue in the lucrative business to hold ICE detainees. The Kenosha County jail holds 1,000 inmates.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in WI also profits from holding ICE detainees for at least a week before they are transported back to the Chicago ICE detention facility for deportion.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in WI also profits from ICE detainees and last week, Sheriff David Clarke Jr. has confirmed that he will partnership with ICE to train his assigned deputies to become immigration enforcement officers as well under President Trumpnazi’s revamped 287g and Secure Communities Programs. Both programs are considered to be abused by law enforcement agencies, which resulted in practices of discrimination and profiling violations without accountability for unlawful acts by authorities.
In 2012, Sheriff Clarke Jr. did confirm that the county jail has been in an agreement for the last five years with the feds to hold illegal immigrants under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program and the county was reinburse about $135,000 in 2009. In 2008, the county received at least $60,000 under the program, according to Sheriff Clarke Jr.
Under the above agreement, the MCSO has to check the legal status of everyone they suspect is an illegal alien and report their results to ICE.
Why hasn’t the U.S. Congress actually passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill?, simply because PPC’s have spent more than $24M per year in lobbying costs to keep private prisons in operation. If tomorrow, a comprehensive immigration reform bill would pass, PPC’s would definitely go out of business because less undocumented detainees would be in prisons, some might argue.

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