Detention and the #EndTheQuota Campaign

On any given day, at least 34,000 people are detained in immigrant detention centers in the U.S. to meet an arbitrary lock-up quota dictated by Congress. Stopping the quota would be a giant step forward in ending our reliance on detention. Grassroots Leadership researches and exposes the role of for-profit prisons and their lobbyists in enacting the quota contributes to the growing national movement to stop immigrant detention.

 

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ICE blocks inspection at Hutto facility, ignores outcry over due process violations after arbitrary transfers

(AUSTIN, Texas) — A disturbing pattern is emerging as federal immigration officials in Central Texas refuse to allow an independent inspection at a women’s detention facility while completely ignoring outcry from attorneys and judges over violations of due process after a mass transfer from the same facility. Read more about ICE blocks inspection at Hutto facility, ignores outcry over due process violations after arbitrary transfers

Jun 29, 2016
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Vice

Everything You Need to Know About Hillary Clinton's Immigration Plans

The US immigration detention has ballooned since the turn of the millennium, doubling in size between 2000 and 2010 amidst a national crackdown on immigration. The bloated system, run largely by private, for-profit prison companies,currently incarcerates men, women, and even children, and the detention centers have been plagued by allegations of abuse, medical neglect, and sexual assault.

In a significant departure from the Obama administration's policies, Clinton has pledged to close these private-run detention centers. She has also promised to close the family detention centers opened by the Obama administration in 2014 in response to an influx of children and mothers seeking asylum from violence-plagued countries in Central America.

Immigration advocates aren't totally satisfied, pointing out that Clinton has not actually promised to decrease overall detention of undocumented immigrants. "We don't think immigrant detention should exist," said Christina Parker, who directs immigration programs for Grassroots Leadership. "There's a strong argument that the only reason immigrant detention so large is to profit two or three companies. So if you believe that then there would be no reason for them to exist after private contracts ended."

Parker added that the Democratic candidate should specify "how exactly and when exactly" the facilities would shut down. So far, Clinton has not. Read more about Everything You Need to Know About Hillary Clinton's Immigration Plans

Jun 22, 2016
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Equal Times

Undocumented immigrant detainees: the (passive) merchandise of a lucrative business

The detention centres “are like prisons, with heavy metal doors and fences,” explained Parker. “You can’t enter them without authorisation. Some of the detainees have access to legal advice, but it is not something that’s guaranteed.”

With only five per cent of the world population, the United States holds over 20 per cent of the world’s prison population, in local, state and federal prisons. With over 2.3 million people convicted, imprisoned or detained, and the trend towards privatising prisons, it is an attractive business. The detention centres for undocumented immigrants, although a small slice of the cake, also generate profits.

And with the growth in the flow of migrants and refugees this decade, the sector is doing well. Read more about Undocumented immigrant detainees: the (passive) merchandise of a lucrative business

May 25, 2016
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San Antonio Current

Ill-gotten Gains, Gender Equality in Government, Seeing Green

The times in Texas are good for the for-profit prison industry.

The GEO Group, which operates the immigrant detention facility in Karnes County, and Corrections Corp. of America, which runs a similar facility in Dilley, Texas, are rolling in cash.

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Grassroots Leadership Immigration Programs Director Cristina Parker said that money is made off of the suffering of mothers and children who came to the U.S. seeking refuge.

"It's sickening to hear CCA and GEO brag about their profitable quarter to shareholders," Parker said. Read more about Ill-gotten Gains, Gender Equality in Government, Seeing Green

May 20, 2016
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San Antonio Current

For-profit Prison Companies in Texas Made Big Money Jailing Immigrants so Far This Year

Two private for-profit prison companies operating immigrant detention facilities in Texas reported strong financial gains to shareholders this month.

The GEO Group, which operates the immigrant detention facility in Karnes County, and Corrections Corp. of America, which runs a similar facility in Dilley, Texas, are rolling in cash.

Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based organization that seeks to end the for-profit prison industry, reports that GEO Group told shareholders that the 626-bed expansion of the Karnes facility in December 2015 is one of a few reasons why its first quarter revenue for 2016 "increased to approximately $510 million from $427 million a year ago." Read more about For-profit Prison Companies in Texas Made Big Money Jailing Immigrants so Far This Year

May 10, 2016
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ThinkProgress

Private Prison CEOs ‘Pleased’ Their Earnings Soared From Keeping Immigrant Kids In Detention

During separate conference calls to talk about earnings reports, two of the country’s largest for-profit private prisons indicated that they saw their profits soar from holding immigrant mothers and children in detention centers across the country.

Revenues increased during the first quarter of 2016 for both the Corrections Corp. of America and GEO Group, executives told shareholders on conference calls.

CCA saw a revenue of $447.4 million, a 5 percent increase from last year’s first quarter. The company’s press release attributed much of that increase to a federal contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

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“It’s sickening to hear CCA and GEO brag about their profitable quarter to shareholders,” Cristina Parker, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership, said in a press release. “That money is made off the suffering of mothers and children who came to the U.S. for refuge.” Read more about Private Prison CEOs ‘Pleased’ Their Earnings Soared From Keeping Immigrant Kids In Detention

Apr 8, 2016
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CounterPunch

People Over For-Profit Prisons: a Social Movement in Gary, Indiana

“A Long Rap Sheet of Abuse and Neglect”

That’s a distressing fact since the company that has what the leading criminal justice reform group Grassroots Leadership (GL) calls “a long rap sheet of abuse, neglect, and misconduct inside its facilities.” An in-depth CMD investigation found that “the company’s cost-cutting strategies lead to a vicious cycle where lower wages and benefits for workers, high employee turnover, insufficient training, and under-staffing results in poor oversight and mistreatment of detained persons, increased violence, and riots.” A fall 2014 GL report detailed GEO’s ghoulish track record, which includes repeated incidents of death-in-custody, overcrowding, denial of medical care, extreme isolation, beatings, and de facto slave labor. Read more about People Over For-Profit Prisons: a Social Movement in Gary, Indiana

David Venturella, GEO spokesperson pushing Indiana detention center, is former top ICE official implicated in deportation quota scandal

Today's Chicago Tribune has a story about the fight in Gary, Indiana over a new immigrant detention center proposed by private prison corporation GEO Group.  The new for-profit prison is heavily opposed by local immigrant rights groups, Black Lives Matters protesters, and members of the faith community.   According to the Tribune: Read more about David Venturella, GEO spokesperson pushing Indiana detention center, is former top ICE official implicated in deportation quota scandal

Apr 6, 2016
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Houston Press

UH Students Urge University to Divest From For-Profit Prisons

Grad students at the University of Houston have launched a petition urging the school to divest from the private prison industry, which is made up of companies that profit from incarcerating people.

Two social work students, Julia Kramp and Nakia Winfield, learned that UH had several million dollars invested in four major financial corporations that, in turn, each had millions of shares in private prisons. The two had been tasked with launching a social policy initiative as a class project and had been following End Mass Incarceration Houston, which often criticizes these private prisons for making a buck off mass incarceration. So when Kramp and Winfield found out UH was, indirectly, investing in this industry,  they reached out to End Mass Incarceration Houston and started putting together a Change.org petition urging UH to stop “banking on bondage.” Now, the petition has more than 200 signatures. Read more about UH Students Urge University to Divest From For-Profit Prisons

Mar 3, 2016
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Fusion

Here’s the infographic that persuaded Bernie Sanders to speak out against private prisons

Private prison corporations, however, have increased their share of the immigrant detention industry. Nine of the ten largest detention centers—which detain immigrants who have entered the country without authorization—are run by private prisons. Immigrants who are caught illegally crossing in to the U.S. more than once are almost always held in private prisons facilities.

An estimated 62% of all immigration detention beds managed by ICE are operated by for-profit prison corporations, up from 49% in 2009, according to federal documents analyzed by Grassroots Leadership, a group whose mission it is end for-profit incarceration. Read more about Here’s the infographic that persuaded Bernie Sanders to speak out against private prisons

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