Tanya: Anyone who is not a citizen can be held in immigration detention. So, what is immigration detention? It’s basically where you await your immigration hearing, or you await your deportation.
So for example, a detention center could be at the local county jail, a detention center could also be at a place that used to be a prison, and has been converted into a detention center, or a detention center could be a newly-built privately-owned facility that is now an immigrant detention center.
Abraham: Forty nine percent of immigration detention is privatized. The enforcement that they ask for, i think, this fiscal year, is 2.5 Million dollars, and and half of that, or forty nine percent of that is going to go to private corporations for a profit.
Cory Fischer-Hoffman: The two corporations with the largest contracts with ICE are the Corrections Corporation of America or CCA, and the Geo Group.
Abraham: Then these corporations, such as CCA and GEo, what they do with some of these profits, is then pay lobbyest to lobby for for regressive immigration policies so that their facilities can, not only stay at the status quo, but then, also grow.
Cory Fischer-Hoffman: Wells Fargo invests millions of dollars in the Geo group, so Families for Freedom organized a picket outside of the bank’s Midtown Branch. At the protest, Jane explains why she is fighting against profiting from immigrant detention centers
Jane: Because the government, pays a lot of money to detain immigrants, One hundred and sixty six dollars a day, per person and they only spend, less than a dollar a day for the meals and they dont offer for healthcare, so they make a huge profit off of it. And that’s why they want as many immigrants to be detained as possible.
Ronald: Wells Fargo is a major investor, in private detention centers. Last year alone, two major companies that run these centers made 3 billion dollars off of immigrants who ought to be with their families.
Abraham: Conveniently, detaining immigrants around the world has become a lucrative business.
Michelle: And again, we are talking about a system, where there are huge profit motives and where programs like secure communities are being fueled by rising detention that is really backed by these huge companies that are really profiting off of the suffering of our communities.
President Obama really does have the ability, to stop this program and to stop this program dead in its tracks right now. And he can’t continue to promise immigrant communities that he is helping them, while he is carrying out these anti-immigrant policies through programs like secure communities. If he wants the support of low income of color and immigrant communities in the next election, he is really going to have to do something really quickly.