Two reports bring back to the forefront the issue of existing policies and financial incentives that stand in the way of due process for individuals in immigration detention centers.
Both reports released this spring — one by Austin-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership and the other by Detention Watch Network — reveal the growing role private prison corporations play in the detention of immigrants due in part to a requirement by Congress to maintain a specific number of detention beds. The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency spends nearly $2 billion annually on the detention of people. Private companies control about 62 percent of the detention beds used by ICE, according to the Grassroots report. Both reports call on Congress to eliminate the immigrant detention quota from its 2016 appropriations request.
The two largest private prison companies involved in detention — Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group – were awarded nearly half a billion dollars from immigrant detention services in 2014 alone, according to the Grassroots report. Both companies received contracts to operate family detention centers in Texas following the child migrant crisis last year. The newly constructed 2,200-bed family detention center in Dilley is operated by CCA. The 530-bed detention center in Karnes City is run by GEO Group. [node:read-more:link]
"According to a new report from the Grassroots Leadership, private for-profit prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep a mandatory immigrant detention quota.
Today, 9 out of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers are private, with 8 owned by only two corporations, the GED Group and CCA. Since the end of 2007, the GEO Group has increased their profits by 244% and CCA by 46%." [node:read-more:link]
Outside, more than 100 activists from half a dozen organizations were protesting the Boca Raton firm. Members of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, Enlace International, SEIU-Florida and the Palm Beach Environmental Coalition were on hand, as was Texas-based Grassroots Leadership, which has worked with Karnes facility immigrants.
Protesters blasted the billion-dollar company’s fundamental business, which hinges on a daily payment rate for every prisoner or immigrant it houses. [node:read-more:link]
Centenares de personas unirán sus voces el sábado 2 para decir ‘‘ya basta’’ a la detención de familias inmigrantes, cuando se realice una protesta en Dilley, a dos horas y media al suroeste de Austin.
En este lugar funciona un centro de detención para mujeres y sus hijos, con capacidad para 480 personas pero que será ampliado por el Gobierno Federal para albergar a 2,400, según información del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (ICE).
‘‘Habrá una marcha y luego se realizará la protesta’’, explicó Bethany Carson, de Grassroots Leadership, quien organiza la logística de la actividad en Dilley para el sábado. [node:read-more:link]
Detained asylum-seeking mothers at a for-profit detention center in Texas have gone on a hunger strike seeking their release, Freedom Speech Radio News reports.
The women, many of whom fled their countries in Central America out of fear of violence or persecution, have all passed the “credible fear test” and qualify as asylum seekers. Despite that, they are still held with their children — some as young as 2 years old — in the Karnes Residential Center, a prison-like facility in South Texas, waiting for their cases to be processed.
According to a new report from the Grassroots Leadership, private for-profit prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep a mandatory immigrant detention quota.
Today, 9 out of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers are private, with 8 owned by only two corporations, the GED Group and CCA. Since the end of 2007, the GEO Group has increased their profits by 244% and CCA by 46%. [node:read-more:link]
Advocates have trained their sights on a similar, newly opened facility in Dilley – 150 miles south, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Austin. By next month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will have capacity to hold up to 2,400 at what will be the nation's largest immigrant detention center. Opened in late December, Dilley is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, while the Karnes site is run by the Geo Group Inc., both for-profit companies contracted by government agencies. Some opponents question the logic of spending money to incarcerate immigrants rather than helping them integrate into the community; according to Reuters, the cost to run the Dilley site is $296 per person per day.
"It's incredibly profitable for these corporations," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. "I'd argue these are the only people these facilities are good for. It's very detrimental to the well-being and health of the kids and moms detained and enormously expensive for taxpayers to be footing the bill of about $300 a day to detain those individuals." Locally, Grassroots Leadership and St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church will each charter two buses to take protesters to Dilley on May 2, calling for closure of such facilities. They'll be met by other buses from San Antonio, the Valley, Houston, and elsewhere. [node:read-more:link]
"...Some activists view the private prison industry as partly responsible for the growth of family immigrant detention. The country’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, operates the newly constructed, 2,400-bed family detention center in Dilley, Texas. The second-largest private prison company, GEO Group, runs the 500-bed facility at Karnes City.
Christina Parker [sic], the immigrant programs director at the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, said Tuesday that letting private companies run detention centers only creates an incentive to lock up more migrants.
'Every bed and every crib represents more profits for them,' Parker said." [node:read-more:link]
"...According to Abdollahi and Cristina Parker, a coordinator with Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, this is the second hunger strike at the Karnes facility because a group of almost 80 women started one in the week that started on Monday March 30th that lasted almost one week.
However, ICE denied in a statement there was a hunger strike at the detention center and said that allegation is 'false.'" [node:read-more:link]