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Corporations love to milk the deportation machine cash cow!

Gloria M. Sandoval  |  Issue: May | June 2017

President Obama’s deportation machine involved lies about who was getting deported. Instead of deporting felons or serious criminals, anyone with even a minor crime was being deported. The number of Border Patrol and ICE agents was increased to deport even more people.

President Trump is building on this increase. The Department of Homeland Security has called for adding 10,000 ICE officers and 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

And aside from building a border wall, Trump has a plan to deport two to three million people with felony convictions. He has also targeted 11 million undocumented immigrants. Separation of families will be a serious injustice to all of our communities.

What is driving this madness?

One thing we don’t hear too much about is how private corporations are profiting from this deportation machine.

Besides the low wages and oppressive working conditions of undocumented workers, private companies are making money from their legal vulnerability.

Private prisons are making money off the incarceration of women, children and family members. The U.S. government has agreed to pay for 34,000 immigration detention beds per day as a guaranteed minimum which pressures ICE to fill beds via arrests.

(Read more at: www.immigrantjustice.org/staff/blog/immigration-detention-bed-quota-timeline)

The website of the National Immigrant Justice Center adds these details on the bed quotas: “ATDs (alternatives to detention) cost as little as 70 cents to $17 per day – a fraction of the $159 ICE spends to detain one person per day.

In the course of a year, immigration detention costs more than $2 billion, nearly $5.5 million each day. Taxpayers could save $1.44 billion each year – a nearly 80 percent decrease in detention spending – if ATDs were more widely used.”

Detention Watch Network explains:

“Family detention is the inhumane and unjust policy of jailing immigrant mothers with their children – including babies. Upon arrival in the United States, families are locked up in remote and punitive detention centers, with little access to legal and social services, often experiencing widespread human and civil rights violations.”

The families are being deprived of a normal life. It has been reported that children made desperate from confinement have considered suicide.

Another report states that the industry (of detention centers and private prisons) doubled in size between 2000 and 2010 as the United States cracked down on undocumented immigrants.

[A]nd the two largest private prison corporations, the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), now take in a combined $3.2 billion in annual revenue.

Lobbying efforts by these corporations targeted elected officials and provided thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

Another little-known fact is that ICE pays an average of $8,419 per flight hour for charter flights to deport undocumented people regardless of how many people are on each plane.

Between October 2010 and April 2014, ICE spent $464 million on these charter flights. Money was made by CSI Aviation, a firm which subleases the planes, flight crews and private security officers from other companies and offers the government a charter flight package.

CSI Aviation’s CEO Allen Weh of New Mexico, is a big fan of Trump and has contributed thousands to Trump’s election campaign. There are other companies that have contracts with ICE Air as well.

Increased deportations will mean more business for these companies at a cost to the taxpayers – including the undocumented who are taxpayers!

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