GUANTANAMO BAY COMING TO A COUNTY NEAR YOU? FOR-PROFIT PRISONS JAILING IMMIGRANTS.

By Leisa Sabasta

The Chipola County Correctional Center in New Mexico is a new immigration jail ran by a private prison company that is profiting off the mass deportation sweeps going on in communities across the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracted racist bullies, with badges & guns.  The Trumpistan Regime, formerly, the US Government, has cleared a path for massive profits to be made by greedy Corporate America.

At the end of August 2016, former Attorney General, Sally Yates, announced the phasing out of use of contracted facilities, due to serious safety and security problems with the department’s contracted prisons. On that same day, the stock plummeted by 35% for CCA, (now CoreCivic). Attorney General, Jeff Sessions later reversed that decision and business have been booming. Shares went up by 40% the day after the election and have climbed another 22% since.

Immigration detention population is growing at an alarming rate. The Department of Homeland Security reported detaining 41,000 people at its immigrant detention centers in November 2016. Private facilities currently hold 73% of the ICE detainee population. The US House of Representatives is negotiating a federal budget that expands the capacity of its immigration jails by nearly 25% in 2018. At the same time, they are trying to roll back basic standards of care for how immigrants in custody are treated. Private prison companies are notorious for cutting corners on basic health and safety protections.

The Geo Group and CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America or CCA) are the two largest companies and combined they are 85% of the private prison business. Coincidentally, both companies have participated in “pay for play” lobbying with the Republicans and Trump in 2016.  In November 2016, CoreCivic reported $83.58 a day in revenue from taxpayers for each bed. The American Civil liberties Union has estimated that ICE would need 100,000 new beds to process Trumps promised deportations. That would create $3 billion in revenue for private prisons. Elected officials taking money from for profit prisons is about as in your face corrupt as it gets. According to their own website, they have 88 facilities across the nation and they appear to be actively soliciting contracts. Prisons for hire would never be a good idea,  too much power, no accountability is a disaster

ALL ROADS LEAD BACK TO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN. 

The Geo Group gave $170,000 to the Trump Victory PAC, $5,000 to Donald J. Trump and $50,000 to Rebuild America Now PAC, which supported Trump. CoreCivic and the Geo Group each gave Donald Trump $250,000 towards his inaugural festivities. Plus another $300,000+ went to various PAC’s that supported Trump, as well as Republicans in general. They also donate in addition to supporting Congressional and local candidates. Geo Group organizations gave at least another $450,000 to Trump Affiliated organizations. CoreCivic and The GEO Group together spent over $2.4 million lobbying Congress.

According to Citizens United, it is highly probable that millions were given through PAC’s not required to show who their donors are, aka “dark money.” It is also unknown if Trump or any of his family members have investments in these companies since they have refused to release their financial information.

The Geo Group directly lobbied Senator, Jeff Sessions $120,000, which was done through a law firm by the name of Bradley, Arant, Boult & Cummings, LLP. In addition, the firm gave Sessions a direct contribution of $7,500. Sessions took a donation of $1,000 from u.s. immigration reform PAC, led by Mary Lou Tanton, wife of John Tanton, who founded the Federation for Immigration Reform, a group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

The Vanguard Group is the largest owner of both CoreCvic and the Geo Group stock. They currently own 17.61% of Geo and 15.75% of CoreCivic. According to records, Jeff Sessions reported ownership of that stock in 2015. He has failed to report his 2016 finances, but updates regarding the sale of his investments for 2016 are available and Vanguard is not listed. Disclosures for the White House staff are unavailable as well. There are many, Vanguard Selected Value is the private prison stock both he and his wife own. No records of being sold to date.

THE GUANTANAMO CONNECTION

In June 2017, National Immigrant Justice Center attorney, Karen Zwick, flew to New Mexico to get an idea too of who was being held there. She had hoped to provide some basic legal help to them as needed. She reported what she describes as “shock” at what she found. According to her, the prison’s population is far below capacity, yet it already seemed impossible to provide adequate legal services. The physical isolation there, she described as stunning. The many questions the conditions beget at the very minimal basic human levels. How could they possibly staff a facility in such a sparse population? How would they provide adequate healthcare with so few medical professionals working nearby and in the facility? She reported that staff seemed to react with alarm at the presence of Attorneys. She encountered hostility from facility officers when she attempted to meet with individuals who were being detained.

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