DHS

Mar 22, 2018
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Texas Observer

Asylum-Seeker’s Release Shows Activists Can Win Under Trump’s ICE

"'This case under Obama would’ve taken like a month,' said Claudia Muñoz, immigration projects director with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin nonprofit that fights private prisons and led the activism around Monterrosa’s case. Under Obama, she said, it was 'common practice' for ICE to release detained immigrants with health problems or in response to scandal — a practice that’s much less common now.

Muñoz, an undocumented activist who once made national headlines for infiltrating a Michigan immigrant detention center, said that ever since Trump’s election, it’s been an open question whether Trump’s ICE can be successfully pressured. 'A lot of people have stopped organizing because they don’t think it’s possible now,' she said. 'But you have to be willing to try; it might not work, but people are being deported either way.'

On Friday, ICE granted Monterrosa what’s called 'deferred action,' essentially a year-long promise not to deport her while she tries to sort out her immigration case. Such temporary reprieves, which are renewable but can be revoked by ICE at any time, are a common goal for activists and attorneys, but they’ve been much harder to come by under Trump. In a statement, San Antonio ICE spokesperson Nina Pruneda said Monterrosa is required to check in weekly with the agency." Read more about Asylum-Seeker’s Release Shows Activists Can Win Under Trump’s ICE

Oct 17, 2016
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Raw Story

Is this the end of prison for profit in the US?

This past August, the Department of Justice released a statement that it would begin the process of phasing out private prison contracts in federal prisons. According to the Department of Justice, the decision came in response to a declining prison population and acknowledgements that private prisons often have lower safety and security standards.

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Private prison corporations, such as Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) and GEO Group, were struggling in the early 2000s. However, following 9/11, immigration became a national security issue, which led to an increase in funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The growth in ICE following 9/11 led to CCA and GEO Group being awarded lucratvie immigrant detention center contracts. 

These private prison contracts often include a further requirement that the government keep immigrant detention centres full and at times contain a "tiered pricing structure" that provides discounts for those detained in excess of the guaranteed minimum. Private prison companies now control 62 percent of immigration detention beds in the US, according to a report by Grassroots Leadership.

Following the Department of Justice's announcement, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would evaluate whether it will phase out the use of private immigrant detention centers as well.  Read more about Is this the end of prison for profit in the US?

EXPOSED: 6 types of abuse reported by women from inside for-profit Laredo detention center, DHS still reviewing ties to private prisons

As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigates its use of private prisons, women currently and formerly detained in two CCA-operated immigrant detention centers in Texas are speaking out against abuses in the facilities. 

Their letters from inside are exposing grossly inadequate medical care and health conditions; unsanitary facilities; sickening food; verbal abuse & harsh, punitive treatment; re-traumatization of survivors of violence; interference with phone conversations. 

Translation: “Just like you want to support us, we too are willing to support ourselves and will not stay quiet about the abuse of our rights that we have been victims of.” Read more about EXPOSED: 6 types of abuse reported by women from inside for-profit Laredo detention center, DHS still reviewing ties to private prisons

Sep 21, 2016
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Fort Worth Weekly

Private Hells

A scathing early-August report by the Office of the Inspector General on the quality-of-inmate-life in private prisons led to a very quick decision by the Department of Justice: Unless a new contract is “substantially reduce[d] in scope in a manner consistent with law,” the Bureau of Prisons must allow its current contracts with private prisons to expire.

The U.S. deputy attorney general said she believes this is just the beginning. In a memo to the acting director of the BOP, Sally Q. Yates wrote, “This is the first step in the process of reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

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But on Friday, Aug. 25, Jeh Johnson, homeland security secretary, announced that he has ordered “a review of for-profit immigration detention contracts.”

The homeland security review comes as something of a surprise: In an e-mail to me later on that same Friday, ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok indicated that private prisons would continue to be utilized as part of ICE’s inventory of prisoner housing. It should be noted, he included in his message that “ICE detention is solely for the purpose of either awaiting the resolution of an individual’s immigration case or to carry out a removal order. ICE does not detain for punitive reasons.”

Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit focused on ending the use of private prisons in the United States, scoffed at the notion that ICE prisons are not punitive.

“People stay in ICE facilities for weeks, months, sometimes years,” he told me in response to Rusnok’s comments. “Just because they put pictures on the walls doesn’t mean [the facilities] are not punitive. There are still locks on the doors and guards to keep you from leaving.” Read more about Private Hells

Aug 30, 2016
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El Diario

Encarcelación privatizada: Gobierno federal evalúa poner fin al uso de cárceles privadas para inmigrantes

El anuncio reciente del Departamento de Justicia sobre la eliminación de todo contrato con empresas privadas que manejan cárceles porque que la taza de abuso y violencia contra prisioneros en esos centros es más alta que en cárceles manejadas por el gobierno ha tenido un efecto inmediato.

El Departamento de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE), señaló que ellos también revisarán sus contratos con empresas privadas para verificar la cantidad de abuso y exigir contabilidad de las corporaciones que se nutren de la encarcelación de tantos latinos en el país, en su mayoría mexicanos. Read more about Encarcelación privatizada: Gobierno federal evalúa poner fin al uso de cárceles privadas para inmigrantes

Sep 6, 2016
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Los Angeles Times

White House considers ending for-profit immigrant detainee centers but critics say it could add billions to the cost

The Obama administration is considering an end to the practice of keeping immigrant detainees in for-profit centers, weeks after the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced it would stop its use of private prisons.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, whose agency includes the immigration service and the Border Patrol, in late August ordered a review of ways to end the use of the private facilities.

A decision to do so would mark a major victory for the coalition of civil rights groups and immigrant advocacy organizations that has sought to roll back the growth of the private-prison industry. Immigration detention facilities house far more detainees than the private facilities the federal prison system has used.

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Civil rights advocates have documented a pattern of poor medical care and abuse inside private immigration facilities over the last several years. They say such prisons have an incentive to cut corners and reduce costs.

Although the allegations of abuse are not limited to privately run prisons, “we certainly see a lot of these problems magnified when a company is seeking to extract as much profit as it can out of a detention center,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. Read more about White House considers ending for-profit immigrant detainee centers but critics say it could add billions to the cost

Aug 30, 2016
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AlterNet

DHS To Revisit For-Profit Immigrant Prisons: Will It Also Revisit Mass Detentions?

It is not clear, at this point, what impact Johnson’s announcement will have on the people incarcerated in immigrant detention centers, which rights campaigners say are more like prisons or even internment camps.

The incarceration of immigrants, migrants and refugees is the area of greatest growth for the private prison industry in the United States, with the companies Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group making windfall profits. According to the latest figures from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more than 70 percent of all ICE beds are operated by for-profit companies.

In turn, these corporations have been instrumental in pressing the U.S. government to adopt heavy-handed immigration policies. A report released last year by the organization Grassroots Leadership, which opposes prison profiteering, reveals that the for-profit prison industry in 2009 successfully pressured Congress to adopt the congressional immigrant detention quota, which today directs ICE to hold an average 34,000 people in detention on a daily basis. Read more about DHS To Revisit For-Profit Immigrant Prisons: Will It Also Revisit Mass Detentions?

Aug 30, 2016
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Rewire

ICE May Stop Contracting With Private Prison Companies

The Texas-based organization Grassroots Leadership last year released a report revealing that private prisons increased their share of the immigrant detention industry after the implementation of the “detention bed quota,” which guaranteed 34,000 immigrants would be detained at any given time.

Private prison corporations accounted for two-thirds of ICE detention beds in 2014, according to the organization. The share of immigration detention beds operated by private prison corporations has increased to 72 percent, as NPR reported. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the country’s two largest private prison companies, operate nine out of ten of the largest detention centers.

The HSAC is comprised of 40 members that advocates have called “an unusual group of people.” Members include controversial New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, a retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Chuck Canterbury, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Marshall Fitz, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Dr. Ned Norris Jr., former chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, a tribe that was divided by the construction of the U.S./Mexico border. Read more about ICE May Stop Contracting With Private Prison Companies

Aug 30, 2016
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Public News Service

El DHS revisará el uso de la detención lucrativa de inmigrantes

Austin, TX – El Secretario de Seguridad Nacional, Jeh Johnson, ha ordenado al consejo consultivo de la agencia revisar el manejo que dan los corporativos privados a los centros de detención para inmigrantes. El movimiento surgió unos días después de que el “Departament of Justice” (Departamento de Justicia) de los Estados Unidos anunciara que está haciendo ajustes al uso de ceder la operación de prisiones federales a empresas privadas con fines de lucro.

El “Deparament of Homeland Security” (Departamento de Seguridad Nacional) anunció el lunes que revisará su política de detención de inmigrantes en instalaciones manejadas por compañías privadas. El anuncio del Secretario Jeh Johnson llega muy poco después de que surgiera la decisión del Departamento de Justicia en el sentido de hacer ajustes a la operación de la operación que las empresas privadas hacen de los reclusorios federales.

Christina Parker, directora de programas de inmigración en Grassroots Leadership, dice que su grupo ha documentado una retahíla de problemas y abusos en las instalaciones lucrativas para inmigrantes de Texas y de muchas partes.

“Dicen que llevarán a cabo una revisión visual de todos los aspectos de contratación en esos lugares, cómo han operado y qué pasó, el tipo de abusos y negligencias que vemos en esas instalaciones. Cualquier revisión honesta tendría que llevar a finalizar sus contratos, tal como lo hizo el DOJ (Departamento de Justicia).” Read more about El DHS revisará el uso de la detención lucrativa de inmigrantes

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