On Friday, KSAT – San Antonio ran Corportations profit from immigration system, part two of reporter Steve Spriester’s Defender’s Investigation into the shady practices of private prison corporations. Spriester’s exposé – which featured Grassroots Leadership Executive Director Bob Libal – revealed the way in which private prison corporations strategically pour money into campaign contribution and lobbying efforts that will produce benefits for their bottom line by ensuring a large and steady flow of detainees.
As Spreister put it, “A stalemate on immigration reform in this country is very good for their business.”
Added Libal, "They're banking on there being a steady and increasing number of immigrants behind bars."
Apparently politicians are banking on private prison companies in return. Later in the feature, when Spreister confronted Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) with the fact that he is the top beneficiary of GEO Group’s campaign contributions, he replied, "Well, you know, I do raise good money from so many sources and I know how to raise money." The congressman went on to explain that he supported the company because he feels the current system is an improvement on the so-called “catch and release” policies that were previously in place.
However, if Cuellar thinks this is an improvement he’s got some pretty low standards. It’s hard to say the current conditions are satisfactory when thousands of men and women per day are deprived of their basic human rights for an indefinite amount of time in places that often provide no outdoor space, poor nutrition, and inadequate medical and mental health care.
Former detainee, Tony Castaneda, provides further insight as he recounted to Spreister what happened to him after a bad fall he had while in one of these facilities. “…[guards] told me they don’t do reports on no accidents.” Castaneda was forced to spend a month and a half in one of these facilities, but was never allowed to make the report. His is one of many stories of abuse and neglect that make it clear that the current system is nowhere near ideal or even adequate.
If you would like to let Congressman Cuellar know your opinion, you can contact him at:
2431 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515