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Latino Daily News

Friday August 3, 2012

Prison Companies Making Big Money Off Arrests of Illegal Immigrants

Prison Companies Making Big Money Off Arrests of Illegal Immigrants

Photo: Prison Companies Making Big Money Off Arrests of Illegal Immigrants

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A recent review by the Associated Press found prison companies are seeing large profits from the detention of undocumented immigrants. However, it is the American taxpayers who are paying more than $2 billion a year.

Each year, roughly 400,000 immigrants are detained, with the privately-run prison companies housing many of them.

According to the Associated Press, “In 2011, nearly half the beds in the nation’s civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight, up from just 10 percent a decade ago.”

Important to note is the fact that these companies are also making money from subsidiaries meant to provide health care and transportation for the immigrants in the private prisons being held for federal crimes.

Many of those who pushed for the arrest of undocumented immigrants also made money off the arrests, as they are involved with the private prison companies.

Back in August 2010, we pointed out that while Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and then Republican Senator Russell Pearce were claiming illegal immigrants were pouring into the country and most were perpetrating horrendous crimes, they were actually seeing huge financial donations from private prison companies.

In 2010:

What Governor Brewer and Republican Senator Russell Pearce, principal architect of SB1070, fail to mention is that they have immense financial ties to the private detention and correction services. What this means is, as more arrests are made on federal immigration charges, more money goes into the pockets of those involved with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a company which stands to make a profit reaching into the millions if Arizona’s law passes.

CCA, a leading provider of detention and correction services in the country, holds the contract to imprison all federal detainees in the state of Arizona. Pearce’s financial records also show that the political action committees funded by CCA as well as GeoGroup (another detention services company) have donated the maximum amount allowed to his campaign.

CCA also contributed to Prop 100 and SB1070 which set the stage for Brewer’s reelection bid. Interestingly enough, when Phoenix’s CBS affiliate KPHO first reported on the conflict of interest the Brewer campaign pulled all its advertisements from the network.

In the end, Pearce lost the potential reelection, but not for lack of serious financial backing from the private prison system.

Interestingly enough, according to AP‘s research, in the last decade private prison giants CCA, The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corp. have spent more than $45 million total on campaign donations and lobbyists at both the state and federal level.

Of course, the companies insist they are not donating money just in support of candidates whose policies would bring the private prisons money.

A CCA spokesman recently told AP, “As a matter of long-standing corporate policy, CCA does not lobby on issues that would determine the basis for an individual’s detention or incarceration.”