This story appeared in the November 1, 2017 issue of AL DÍA
Incarcerating poor, powerless people for profit is the kind of money making mechanism that this president probably derives a lot of pleasure from. After all, persecuting and terrorizing immigrants is the centerpiece of his administration, and it is jailing immigrants that has made the private prison industry fabulously wealthy.
“I do think we can do a lot of privatizations, and private prisons it seems to work a lot better,” candidate Trump said to Chris Matthews when the MSNBC pundit asked him how he planned to reform the country’s prison system if he became president. Of course, the crass Mr. Trump is right: Private prisons work a lot better, but only for the corporations that make billions off the suffering of thousands of powerless families.
The Geo Group Inc., and CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corp. of America, which are the largest and more profitable of the companies involved in incarcerating immigrants in deplorable conditions for months and even years, invest millions of dollars in lobbying for harsh immigration laws and enforcement. The more people in prison, the better it is for their business.
Despite the private prison industry’s long history of abuse, under the Trump administration it is poised to make an even greater killing. The White House plans an increase in privately owned jails across the country to keep behind bars the unprecedented number of immigrants ICE is arresting. CoreCivic and the GEO Group, which have already seen their stocks skyrocket, have made more than $12 billion in profits in the past 20 years, largely from immigrant detention, reported The Nation.
In February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a rabid enemy of immigration, did away with an Obama measure to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons. The GEO Group, understandably grateful for the hateful Session’s huge favor, hired David Stewart and Ryan Robichaux, two of his former aides. Clearly ethics is not this administration’s strongest quality.
According to ICE own figures, the agency arrested 97,482 people suspected of being in the country illegally, from Jan. 22 through Sept. 9. This figure represents a 43% increase over the same time period in 2016 under president Obama. Despite their denials, arrests of undocumented immigrants without a criminal record have gone up 179% under Trump’s first nine months compared to the previous year. No one is spared from the system. Families, undocumented and documented immigrants, people who have been in the U.S. for years, survivors of torture, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups including pregnant women, children, and individuals who are seriously ill without proper medication or care can be found in private detention centers paid with our taxpayer dollars.
The fact that GEO, which according to an investigation by The Daily Beast runs the two facilities where more immigrants have died in the last two years, has been awarded three multimillion contracts, says a lot about the aging Trump’s merciless immigration policies and his love fest with the greedy and abusive private prison industry.
Definitely, a business so despicable that it could have been designed with Donald Trump in mind.