How Are Private Detention centers Financed?
The number of immigrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has fallen to the lowest levels since the 1970s. However the federal government has increased spending on immigrant detention. Private prison companies such as Geo Group have profited from the increase in ICE raids (Linthicum). These startling facts beg the question, how are private detention centers financed? Private detention centers are financed by and gain profit from our tax dollars. Many of these taxes are paid by undocumented immigrants. The government they fund is the same government that can deport them at any time and that time is now.
ICE claims certain corporations do a better job than public law enforcement agencies at detaining immigrants. According to the LA Times, “U.S. ICE officials say private companies often do a better and more efficient job of housing detainees than the agency itself or the local jails it sometimes contracts with” (Linthicum). Private Detention Centers are financed by and gain profit from tax dollars that they receive in the form of ICE contracts.
New information about ICE’s budget could point to a partial victory for immigrant-rights activists..
ICE is no longer required to operate with the same massive amount of detainees per day. According to Detention Watch Network, “President Obama released the final budget of his presidency. In a disappointing proposal, this year’s budget continues to significantly invest in detention and monitoring of immigrant communities, earmarking $2.18 billion for detention” (Detention Watch Network). Although the administration did not meaningfully reduce funding for detention centers, they did refuse to budget for a mandatory bed quota that used to require ICE to hold a minimum of 34,000 people a day. This is a partial victory because it preserves a great deal of funding for detention centers that only benefit private companies, but also opens up the opportunity to reduce the number of immigrants detained. It would be unjust if we continued to detain and deport immigrants who play a vital role in our economy.
ICE wants to deport the people that truly work hard to give more money to the country. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, “The 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States collectively paid $11.64 billion in state and local taxes” (ITEP). Essentially, the government’s contracts with private detention centers are being financed by immigrants. Their own tax dollars are being used to profit from their deportation.
Private detention centers and revenue from those detentionsare just ways to take advantage of the funds that government should help LA from the core – rebuilding the streets, parks, schools, and hospitals.
Linthicum, Kate. “Private companies profit from U.S immigration detention boom”. www.latimes.com. LATimes. April.24 2015.
Detention Watch Network. “Obama’s 2017 Fiscal Budget Invests significantly in detention, Fails to support immigrant families”. www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Feb. 28 2016.
ITEP. “Undocumented Immigrants State and Local Tax Contributions”. www.itep.org. 24 feb 2016.