Today's USA Today carried a disturbing article highlighting Immigration and Customs Enforcement's effort to increase the number of deportations through aggressive enforcement mechanisms.
Internal emails at the agency showed that ICE agents "were trolling state driver's license records for information about foreign-born applicants, dispatching U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to traffic safety checkpoints conducted by police departments, and processing more illegal immigrants who had been booked into jails for low-level offenses."
The former official whose emails are heavily quoted in the article is David Venturella, former assistant director at ICE. Guess where Mr. Venturella ended up after his term at ICE? Mr. Venturella is now the Executive Vice President for Corporate Development at GEO Group, according to his LinkedIn profile. GEO Group is a private prison corporation that heavily depends on federal immigration contracts to ensure a steady profit stream and employs a stream of heavily connected lobbyists in DC.
GEO knows that immigration reform that moves away from mass detention and crimanalization of migrants would be really bad for business. Business Insider reported on February 2nd that in 2011, GEO Group CEO George Zoley told investors:
"At the federal level, initiatives related to border enforcement and immigration detention with an emphasis on criminal alien populations as well as the consolidation of existing detainee populations have continued to create demand for larger-scale, cost efficient facilities."
Undoubtedly, Mr. Venturella's history at ICE is proving valuable for his new company.