Rep. Adam Smith

Sep 27, 2016
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The Wall Street Journal

Immigrant Detention System Could Be in Line for an Overhaul

A recent Homeland Security Department decision to consider ending the widespread outsourcing of immigrant detention could mean overhauling a $2 billion-a-year system built around private prison contractors that house the majority of immigrant detainees.

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Critics of ICE question why there are so many people in custody when illegal immigration has slowed significantly. “The growth in the private-prison industry has been driven by more enforcement that fills beds, even at a time of relatively low immigration levels,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an organization that studies for-profit incarceration and favors ending it.

The immigrant-bed quota, which Congress first mandated in 2009, benefits the private-prison industry and promotes detention, Mr. Libal and others say. Read more about Immigrant Detention System Could Be in Line for an Overhaul

Elected officials join advocates' call to end, not mend family detention

Drawing by 8-year-old in family detention given to Rep. Roybal-Allard on recent Congressional tour

Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a press release announcing a number of modifications to family detention. The announcement claims that the agency will do away with long-term detention in most cases and set “reasonable” bonds for families that pass credible fear examinations. Our take on this is expressed perfectly by our executive director, Bob Libal in Grassroots Leadership’s statement: “It is impossible to make family detention reasonable or humane. Mass family detention is an extremely recent development and is emblematic of our society’s rush to use incarceration as the solution to any difficult issue. The Administration ended mass family detention once in 2009, and they can and should end it again today.”

 

An outpouring of legislators, advocacy organizations, and faith groups also released statements that these changes are not sufficient, and that the only solution is to end the inhumane detention of asylum seeking mothers and children altogether. Read more about Elected officials join advocates' call to end, not mend family detention

Apr 16, 2015
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The Spokesman Review

Editorial: Bed quotas for immigration detainees a costly flub

Illegal border crossings are in decline, but Homeland Security officers nonetheless have a detention-bed quota they must meet. Private prison companies are reaping the benefits, and taxpayers are being shortchanged.

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Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit social justice group, released a report Wednesday highlighting the plight of some detainees and the lobbying efforts of CCA and GEO Group, particularly with the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. CCA has spent nearly $10 million lobbying the panel since 2008. Both companies deny trying to influence immigration policy. Read more about Editorial: Bed quotas for immigration detainees a costly flub

Apr 16, 2015
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ThinkProgress

Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants, Report Says

Private prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep immigrants in detention centers, a new report released Wednesday found. The Grassroots Leadership report, Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, found that lobbying efforts of the two largest private prison corporations have made them the main beneficiaries of aggressive immigration detention policies. For-profit family detention centers have come under scrutiny in recent times as migrant women renewed a hunger strike this week in Texas, demanding that they be released on bond with their children. Read more about Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants, Report Says

Apr 15, 2015
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Huffington Post

Bed Quota Fuels 'Inhumane' And 'Unnecessary' Immigrant Detention: Report

The private prison industry’s growing role in immigrant detention is due in part to Congress' requiring the federal government to maintain some 34,000 detention beds, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report, drafted by Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, calls on Congress to eliminate the immigrant detention quota from its 2016 appropriations request.

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Bethany Carson, a co-author of the study who spoke on the call, said the detention bed quota is “inhumane” and “unnecessary.” The Grassroots report urges policymakers to reduce the number of required detention beds through “community-based” alternatives to detention. The report does not describe those alternatives in detail, but Grassroots has in the past endorsed programs in which immigration authorities partner with non-governmental organizations to ensure that released migrants comply with court proceedings and find access to community services.

“The only beneficiaries from the detention quota are for-profit corporations that benefit from human pain,” Carson told reporters Read more about Bed Quota Fuels 'Inhumane' And 'Unnecessary' Immigrant Detention: Report

New Report: Rise in For-Profit Detention Corresponds with Millions in Lobbying by Private Prisons

AUSTIN, TEXAS — A new report released today by Grassroots Leadership, a national social justice organization that works to end for-profit incarceration, examines the increasing seizure of the immigrant detention industry by for-profit prison corporations and their extensive lobbying of Congress to protect their bottom line. Since the creation of the immigrant detention bed quota in 2009, the immigrant detention industry has become 13 percent more privatized. Read more about New Report: Rise in For-Profit Detention Corresponds with Millions in Lobbying by Private Prisons

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