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The Private Companies Reaping Millions From Running ICE Detention Pens

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. July 12, 2019: On Friday morning, July 5th, #TrumpHasKidsInCages began trending on Twitter. It was pretty significant since it came on the heels of the July Fourth independence holiday and Donald trump’s dictatorial tribute to himself in the US capital.

But
while outrage has to be rightly directed at the administration for the bigoted
and xenophobic actions directed towards immigrants, anger must also be directed
at the privately-run detention companies that are raking in millions of taxpayer
dollars monthly for service that is largely sub-human.

Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (a department of DHS) contracts with private security
corporations to run some of the 250 immigrant detention facilities across the
U.S.

Here
are some of the companies you should know who are behind the running of Trump’s
cages according to the National Immigrant Justice Center’s (NIJC’s) three-year Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) litigation. You would be shocked to know that at
least two are owned by members of a Native American tribe in Alaska and one by
a Sikh church group. But the two biggest by far are The GEO Group Inc. and CoreCivic.
Here’s what you need to know about them:

1:
The GEO Group Inc.

Headquartered
in Boca Raton, Florida, The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) specializes “in privatized
corrections, detention, and mental health treatment. It maintains headquarters
in North America, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. GEO’s U.S.
Corrections and Detention division oversees the operation and management of approximately
75,000 beds in 69 correctional and detention facilities. GEO’s U.S. Corrections
& Detention division provides services on behalf of the Federal Bureau of
Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
as well as 9 state correctional clients and various county and city
jurisdictions. Worldwide, GEO Corrections & Detention oversees the operation
and management of approximately 96,000 beds in 134 correctional and detention
facilities.

In
2015, the GEO Group’s contracts with the U.S. federal government for operating
prisons generated about 45% of its revenues. Since 2017, ICE has signed over
$450 million worth of contracts to GEO Group. The lobbying arm of GEO Group
spent $1.56 million on lobbying in 2018, deploying only lobbyists who
previously worked in government. It also contributed $275,000 to pro-Trump
super PAC Rebuilding America Now in 2016. In April 2018, a wholly owned
subsidiary of GEO Group called GEO Acquisitions II gave $125,000 to a political
action committee in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act, which bars
companies with active contracts with the federal government from making political
donations.

2:
CoreCivic

CoreCivic,
formerly the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), was co-founded in 1983
in Nashville, Tennessee by Thomas W. Beasley, a Republican Party chairman. The
company is the second largest private corrections company in the US and manages
more than 65 state and federal correctional and detention facilities with a
capacity of more than 90,000 beds in 19 states and the District of Columbia. CCA
has been the subject of much controversy over the years, mostly related to
apparent attempts to save money, such as hiring inadequate staff, extensive
lobbying, and lack of proper cooperation with legal entities to avoid
repercussions. Reports indicate it has earned $118 million in federal
contracts. CoreCivic spent $1.23 million on lobbying in 2018, and also gave $378,000
in contributions to political candidates with 93 percent going to Republican
candidates. Since 2017, ICE has signed over $280 million in contracts with
CoreCivic.

3:
Management & Training Corporation

Management
& Training Corporation or MTC was founded in Centerville, Utah and operates
24 correctional facilities in eight states. They also operate in Great Britain,
under the name MTCNovo. MTC is the third-largest operator of correctional
facilities in the U.S. Management
and Training Corporation of Centerville Utah runs three immigrant holding
facilities in three states, California, New Mexico and Texas.

4:
Immigration Centers of America – Farmville

Immigration
Centers of America – Farmville is another facility being contracted by the
federal government to house immigrants. The Detroit Free Press said in 2018
that Immigration Centers of America, which operates a detention facility in
Farmville, Virginia, was the sole bidder for the former Deerfield Correctional
Facility in Ionia. The newspaper says the $35 million facility would house
adult immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement who haven’t
been charged with or convicted of criminal offenses. This came as Simon
Sandoval-Moshenberg, of the Legal Aid Justice Center, told WVTF in Virginia in
June this year that there are 24 confirmed or suspected mumps cases at a ICA detention
facility in Farmville.

5:
Ahtna Inc.

Ahtna,
Inc. is an Alaska Native Regional Corporation established by Congress under the
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. It is also one of a number of
companies profiting off of the deportation of undocumented immigrants from the
United States. Ahtna run immigrant detention centers in New York, Florida, and
Arizona in addition to the Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos, Texas. Ahtna
will earn a guaranteed minimum of $800 million over the life of the contract at
Port Isabel, which has an option to run through 2022 according to The Daily
Beast.

6:
LaSalle Corrections

LaSalle
Corrections was founded in Louisiana and currently manage 18 correctional
facilities in Louisiana, Texas and Georgia with a total inmate capacity of over
13,000, and lease one facility to a law enforcement agency. Their facilities
include detention centers in Texas, Arizona and Louisiana. Mother Jones reported
in May that since February, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement had started
using three Louisiana jails run by LaSalle Corrections to house asylum-seekers.
ICE in June added a fourth LaSalle
facility: the Winn Correctional Center, a prison designed to hold
convicted criminals, not foreigners fleeing violence, persecution, and poverty.

7:
GPS – Global Precision Systems

Global
Precision Systems is another Alaska Native corporation contracted in border
security by the U.S. federal government. It is a subsidiary of Bering Straits
Native Corp., and currently has millions of dollars in contracts to provide guards
and other supporting operations to US ICE. Global Precision Systems is in a
seven-year contract providing detention officers and transportation as well as
food service staff to the El Paso Service Processing Center in Texas. It is
listed as a “Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Disadvantaged Business”
established in 2009, according to its website.

8:
Akal Security Inc.

Founded
in New Mexico by Daya S. Khalsa and Gurutej Khalsa and by followers of the Sikh
Dharma sangat, Akal Security Inc. and the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation
(SSSCorp) are security companies which has federal and sub-contracts to guard
immigration detention centers as well across the U.S. The company has received
over $1 billion in federal security contracts. Akal has worked with ICE (and
the INS before it) for 20 years, according to The Medium These contracts
primarily focused on two specialized needs: detention management and
transportation, guarding detainees at ICE detention or processing centers, and
as aviation security officers (receiving detainees from ICE custody, usually on
the tarmac, sometimes chained, handcuffed, or shackled, sometimes not, and
guarding those detainees on deportation flights operated by ICE Air.

It is time for all Americans to demand better use of their tax dollars. How about paying judges to process the cases of immigrants quicker so the business of detention and the cost to American taxpayers is eliminated?

felicia-j-persaud-hard-beat-alt

The
writer is publisher at NewsAmericasNow

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