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Exposing Corporate Profiteering from

Immigration Detention and Enforcement

There are many changes in law and In 2016, the Department of Justice
policy that would be required for a more (DOJ) Inspector General reported that
inclusive and compassionate U.S. private prisons are substantially less
immigration system. However, there has safe and secure than ones run by the
been little attention paid to the federal Bureau of Prisons, and have
significant financial incentives that fuel higher rates of violence and
harsh and punitive migration policies, contraband.3 Based on the report, the
what might be called the “financialization DOJ announced that it would begin
of migration.” What are the financial terminating contracts with private
interests and profit incentives that prisons.4
contribute to bad policies and bad
outcomes for migrants to the U.S.? The Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) then conducted a review of
Several industries have financial whether to continue its contracts with
interests in shaping law and public private prison corporations for
policy related to migrants in order to immigration detention5 and based on
maintain their labor forces, e.g., the that review, DHS’ Advisory Council
agriculture sector relies on both recommended terminating contracts
documented and undocumented with private prisons for immigration
immigrant labor, and the technology detention.6 These policy changes at the
sector relies on foreign graduate end President Barack Obama’s
students and foreign temporary workers. administration posed significant threats
to the financial interests of the private
This analysis will focus on corporations prison corporations, and sent their stock
profiting from private immigration prices plummeting.
detention and from increases in U.S.
federal budget expenditures on For decades, DHS’ Immigration and
immigration enforcement, e.g. Customs Enforcement (ICE) has
construction of a “wall” on the operated its own large detention
southwestern border, and expenditures facilities, or “service processing centers”
on border surveillance and other in El Centro, CA; Florence, AZ; El Paso,
technologies. TX; Port Isabel, TX; Krome, FL; and
Buffalo, NY. Detainees in such facilities
Applying a Political Economy are waiting for their immigration
Analysis to Profiteering from Private hearings, which are civil, not criminal
Immigration Detention proceedings. They have not been
The privatization of the detention of convicted of any crimes, and have not
immigrants has been a growing trend, been found deportable. However, with
creating direct and substantial profits for the expansion of immigration detention,
a small number of private, for-profit approximately two-thirds of all
prison corporations.1 The economic immigrants detained are now held in
interests in maintaining private private detention facilities operated by
immigration detention facilities has to be private, for-profit prison corporations. In
understood in the larger context of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, $2 billion was
$7.4 billion/year private prison industry paid to 200 federal, state, local, and
that incentivizes mass incarceration.2 private detention facilities for the
detention of over 440,000 immigrants by
ICE. It costs an average of $144/day to

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

detain an immigrant in one of these Dozens of these contracts are made

private detention facilities.7 indirectly with the private prison
corporations through “subcontracts” with
the U.S. Marshal’s Service or with state
and local governments through complex
“intergovernmental” arrangements. For
example, in 2016, ICE signed a no-bid
contract with Charlton County, GA, with
the private prison corporation The GEO
Group as the county’s subcontractor, to
1,000-bed private immigration detention facility in operate a new 780-bed immigration
Houston, TX detention facility at a guaranteed
Source: CoreCivic
minimum payment of $1.9 million/month
for five years (regardless of how many
Most of these immigration detention beds are filled). The GEO Group is
contracts have “guaranteed minimum” paying the county $2,500/month as an
payments to the private detention “administrative fee” for being the
facilities, regardless of the numbers of county’s subcontractor.9 These
immigrants actually detained.8 These subcontract arrangements allow the
contracts incentivize ICE to fill those private prison corporations to avoid
beds with increased enforcement many federal oversight requirements
activities since those beds are already and regulations.10
paid for. Contracts also include
“discounts” for immigrants detained In addition, the federal Bureau of
above these guaranteed minimums, Prisons operates “Criminal Alien
which creates additional financial Requirement” (CAR) prisons to detain
incentives for ICE to conduct more immigrants convicted of immigration-
enforcement activities to take advantage related crimes (such as unauthorized re-
of the discounted rates. entry after deportation11) and immigrants
serving federal criminal sentences,
mainly for drug-related crimes, that will
make them deportable. There are about
25,000 beds contracted by the Bureau
of Prisons to detain these immigrants.12

Harsh Conditions, Little Government

Oversight of Private Immigration
Detention Facilities
When immigration detention facilities
are operated by private corporations,
they are not subject to the same level of
public access, inspection, and regulation
as federal, state, or local government-
operated detention facilities. While
federal government contracts do require
compliance with basic health and safety
standards governing any detention, it is
up to DHS, Bureau of Prisons, U.S.
1,160-bed private immigration detention facility in Jena, Marshal’s Service, or state and local
LA governments, to conduct inspections,
Source: The GEO Group

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

respond to complaints, and enforce such as education or vocational training

those regulations. available in these facilities.

In 2017, Human Rights Watch and Over the past two years, formal
Freedom for Immigrants (formerly complaints and lawsuits about the
Community Initiatives for Visiting conditions in private immigration
Immigrants in Confinement, or CIVIC) detention facilities were filed in
reported on the substandard medical Washington, California, Colorado, and
care for immigrants in private Georgia. The complaints include denial
immigration detention facilities.13 In of medical care, physical and sexual
2016, Human Rights Watch had found assault, serving spoiled food, mold-filled
that 18 individuals who had died while in showers, non-functioning phones,
immigration detention facilities in 2012- restrictions on access to attorneys, and
2015 had received substandard medical violation of minimum wage laws.20 The
attention.14 Freedom for Immigrants has 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled
reported a total of 177 deaths of that class action litigation by immigrant
individuals in immigration detention detainees for minimum wage violations
facilities since 2003.15 12 individuals can proceed against The Geo Group.21
died in immigration detention in
FY2017;16 there already have been 9
deaths in 2018.17

Freedom for Immigrants and other

organizations have documented the
mistreatment and abuse experienced by
immigrants held in private immigration
detention facilities: physical and sexual
abuse; getting thrown into isolation cells
for “violations” such as complaining
about bad food; unsanitary conditions;
poor medical care; and being cut off
from contact with families. Private
immigration detention contracts have
requirements that a minimum of beds at
each facility have to be “available” for
solitary confinement, which incentivizes
the guards to place immigrants in
solitary confinement for little or no
reason other than to fill the space. Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Transgender women immigrants have
been housed with men, sexually In December 2017, the DHS Inspector
assaulted, held in solitary confinement, General issued a scathing report about
and subjected to arbitrary strip the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at
searches.18 In some facilities, immigrant immigration detention facilities, including
detainees are forced to work at the Santa Ana City Jail, Otero County
cleaning, maintenance, and kitchen Processing Center, and Stewart
jobs, and are only paid $1/day. Those Detention Facility (operated by the
who refuse to work are punished by private prison corporation CoreCivic).22
being placed in solitary confinement.19 The Inspector General found
There are no rehabilitative programs organizational cultures of disrespect and
disregard for detainee basic rights. The

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

report found that detainees were not Sacramento, CA. In October 2017, he
provided interpreters, were subject to described his conditions in detention:
unnecessary strip searches, were
arbitrarily subject to solitary confinement Every day here is the same. We have to
and lock-downs, experienced delays in get up for breakfast at four thirty in the
receiving urgent medical care, did not morning. A few potatoes, eggs and two
have access to working telephones, and pieces of bread, plus milk and
were obstructed when filing grievances. margarine. There is a loudspeaker with
The facilities themselves had mold and loud announcements starting at 5:00
peeling paint, and some bathrooms a.m. and continuing all day long, so you
lacked either hot water or cold water. can never sleep. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m.,
There were shortages of basic supplies and is always soup, sometimes with
such as toilet paper, soap, and something in it, and other times mostly
toothpaste. There was spoiled and just water. Then dinner is at 2:30 p.m.
moldy food, and food beyond their The best food is on Thursday nights at
expiration dates in the kitchen dinner when we get peanut butter and
refrigerators. ICE responded that it jelly sandwiches….Here, it’s all
would enhance its monitoring of these concrete — walls and floors. There are a
facilities, but there has been little couple skylights, but no windows. We
evidence of any more proactive never get to see outside, the sun, grass
oversight.23 or anything. For one hour a day, we get
to go to the “yard.” Except that it’s really
In 2015, hundreds of immigrants at the just another room with bars and mesh
Willacy County Correctional Center in across the top instead of a ceiling….
Raymondville, TX, a CAR prison Being here is costing my family a lot.
operated by the Management & Training Just to talk to them is twenty-one cents
Corporation, refused to continue to a minute. Because the food is so bad,
participate in mandatory work details my wife pays $38 a week for an “I Care
and set fire to the tents that they were Package,” a small box containing
housed in to protest their conditions, crackers, instant soup, tuna, and
which included overcrowding and cookies. In total, my family spends $100
malfunctioning toilets constantly backing or more a week to meet my basic
sewage water into the living areas, and needs: food, phone calls, stamps and
arbitrary use of solitary confinement.24 paper, which means that in the last five
In 2017, protests and hunger strikes months, they’ve spent $2,000 on my
were held at The GEO Group-operated detainment.26
Tacoma Detention Center in
Washington, and at the Adelanto Corporate Profiteering from Private
Detention Facility in north San Immigration Detention
Bernardino county, California, where Soon after his inauguration in 2017,
three immigrant detainees died last President Donald Trump announced
year.25 plans to double the average number of
immigrants detained by ICE from
Freedom for Immigrants also has been 41,000/day to as high as 80,000/day.
documenting the testimonies of Many understand this average as a
immigrants in detention. For example, minimum “quota” of immigrants to be
37-year old Hugo Mejia from Mexico detained since ICE has already
was arrested at his construction job site contracted and paid for that detention
and was detained at the Rio capacity.
Consumnes Correctional Center near

Commissioned by the Ford Foundation through a contract with NEO Philanthropy 4

September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

The Trump administration also reversed corporations to support their

the decision to end DOJ contracting with expansions, while increasing their own
private prison corporations, and ended investments in those corporations to
the DHS review of whether to continue share in any profiteering.30 Both
to contract with private prison CoreCivic and The GEO Group rely
corporations for immigration detention.27 heavily on debt financing to support their
There are a literally only a handful of continued growth.
corporations that will profit from the
expansion of private immigration Here are the millions of dollars in
detention, including The GEO Group contracts that were awarded to
and CoreCivic (formerly the Corrections corporations for private immigration
Corporation of America, or CCA), the detention and related services during
two largest private prison corporations in FY2012-2015:
the U.S., and the Management &
Training Corporation. The GEO Group
currently operates private immigration
detention facilities in Texas, California,
Colorado, Louisiana, Florida, and
Washington. CoreCivic currently
operates private immigration detention
facilities in Texas, Arizona, California,
Georgia, Tennessee, and New Jersey.28

Source: Freedom for Immigrants

In FY2015, The GEO Group had $161

Source: Freedom for Immigrants
million and Corrections Corporation of
America had $28 million in federal
Other private, for-profit corporations,
including the Management & Training government contracts for private
immigration detention. However, in
Corporation, provide transportation,
FY2013, Corrections Corporation of
food, medical, security, and other
America had $79 million is such
services to support immigration
contracts, so the renamed CoreCivic
detention facilities. For example, ICE
corporation has been eager to re-build
contracts with Akal Security for security
this line of business.
at its El Centro, CA; Florence, AZ; El
Paso, TX; and Krome, FL detention

The Center for Popular Democracy has

recently highlighted the role that private
financial companies, including JP
Morgan Chase, BlackRock, Wells In April 2017, The GEO Group was
Fargo, and New York Life Group have in awarded a $110 million contract to build
providing hundreds of millions of dollars a 1,000-bed immigration detention
in loans to these private prison

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

facility in Conroe, TX, to open in 2018.31 immigration detention capacity

After the facility opens, the contract is nationwide by over 4,000 beds.33
estimated to be worth $44 million/year.32 With these new business opportunities,
The GEO Group already operates a corporations such as The GEO Group
1,517-bed immigration detention facility and CoreCivic are seeing profits
in the same town in southeast Texas, increase. Since President Trump was
which only has a population of 82,000 inaugurated in January 2017,
residents. CoreCivic’s stock price has increased
81% and The GEO Group’s stock price
has increased 63%.

In CoreCivic’s 2017 3rd Quarter earnings

report, the corporation reported revenue
losses from the termination of two
Bureau of Prisons contracts. However, it
was able to offset that loss because it
had been able to convert the Cibola
County Corrections Center in New
Mexico into an immigration detention
center and secure a new contract with
DHS to continue to operate the facility.
CoreCivic is actively competing for the
new business opportunities expanding
immigration detention announced in the
fall of 2017.34

The conversion of facilities is another

way to maintain the profits of these
prison corporations. For example, the
Willacy County Correctional Center in
Raymondville, TX, operated by the
Source: The Geo Group
Management & Training Corporation,
originally had a contract with ICE but
In September 2017, DHS announced then converted the facility to detain
the availability of a contract for another “criminal aliens” under a contract with
1,000-bed immigration detention facility the Bureau of Prisons.35
in south Texas.

Corporate Contributions to
Candidates and Spending on
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Lobbying
Every election cycle, these private
Additional contracts will be available for prison corporations make millions of
new immigration detention facilities in dollars in political contributions. The
Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; St. Paul, MN; Washington Post reported that The
and Salt Lake City, UT, expanding new GEO Group made over $1.3 million in
political contributions in 2015-2016. A

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

subsidiary contributed $225,000 to a spent $1.3 million and CoreCivic had

pro-Trump super PAC. In addition, The spent $640,000 in lobbying in the first
GEO Group contributed $475,000 and nine months of 2017.38 The GEO Group
CoreCivic contributed $250,000 for recently hired Brian Ballard, a major
Trump’s inauguration events.36 In fundraiser for President Trump, as
October 2017, The GEO Group moved another one of its lobbyists. The GEO
its annual conference from near its Boca Group also recently hired David Stewart
Raton headquarters to the Trump and Ryan Robichaux, former aides to
National Doral Golf Club near Miami, now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as
which resulted in direct revenues to the additional lobbyists.39
Trump family of businesses.
Corporate Lobbying for Policy
Not surprisingly, political contributions Changes to Increase Immigration
also have been made to the leadership Detention
of the Senate and House of These private prison and immigration
Representatives Judiciary and detention corporations also have had
Homeland Security Committees, and direct influence on federal and state
Homeland Security Appropriations legislation that would increase the levels
Subcommittee, which have policy, of immigration detention, which would
oversight, and budget authority over create additional business, contracts,
immigration issues, including detention and profits.
and the use of private immigration
detention facilities.37

Source: National Public Radio

For example, in 2010, Corrections

Corporation of America worked through
the American Legislative Exchange
Council to assist Arizona legislators in
Source: Washington Post drafting Senate Bill 1070, a broad anti-
immigrant measure that included
These corporations also spend millions increasing state and local law
of dollars on lobbying since their enforcement involvement in identifying
contracts with federal agencies such as undocumented immigrants (which would
ICE are such an important line of result in their detention by ICE, including
business. In 2015, CoreCivic spent $1.6 in Corrections Corporation of America
million and The GEO Group spent $1.74 immigration detention facilities). 30 of
million for lobbying. Congressional the 36 Arizona state legislators who co-
records show that The GEO Group had sponsored SB 1070 received

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

contributions from the Corrections work for. For example, The GEO
Corporation of America, The GEO Group’s Senior Vice President for
Group, and/or the Management & Business Development David Venturella
Training Corporation. Parts of SB 1070 was a former Director, Enforcement and
were ultimately overturned by the U.S. Removal Operations at ICE; its Vice
Supreme Court in 2012.40 President for Transportation Ed Stubbs
was a former U.S. Marshal and former
As comprehensive immigration reform Administrator for the ICE Krome
legislation was being drafted and Detention Center; and its Vice President
debated in the U.S. Senate in 2013, The for Operations Eben Morales was a
Nation uncovered the influence of former Assistant Director of the U.S.
contributions by Corrections Corporation Marshal’s Service.
of America and The GEO Group to the
bipartisan “Gang of 8” sponsoring the The GEO Group’s board members
bill. In 2012-2013, the two corporations include Julie Myers Wood, a former
contributed over $380,000 to Assistant Secretary for Homeland
Republican candidates and committees, Security (and who is married to John F.
and thousands more to Democrats. Not Wood, the chief of staff for former
surprising, many of the provisions in Homeland Security Secretary Michael
S.744 called for increases in Chertoff) and Norman Carlson, a former
enforcement activities and personnel, director of the Bureau of Prisons.
and thousands of new immigration
detention beds. Senator John McCain CoreCivic’s Senior Director for
(R-AZ) specifically argued for provisions Customer Relations for the U.S.
to increase federal criminal prosecutions Marshal’s Service and ICE Chuck
for immigration-related crimes (now Kupferer was a former Chief Deputy at
being implemented by Attorney General the U.S. Marshal’s Service; its Senior
Sessions).41 McCain received at least Director for Partnership Development
$30,000 in contributions from the Kim Porter was a former Supervisory
Corrections Corporation of America. Detention and Deportation Officer at
Another member of the Gang of 8, ICE; and its Senor Director for Federal
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), actively Customer Relations Anthony Odom was
supported McCain’s approach; Rubio a former Chief, Threat Analysis Division,
received $33,500 from The GEO Group, at the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
and its CEO also personally contributed
another $4,800 to Rubio’s campaign.42 CoreCivic’s board members include
Stacia Hylton, a former Director of the
Revolving Door Between Corporate U.S. Marshal’s Service; Donna
and Federal Government Leaders Alvarado, a former Deputy Assistant
Former high-ranking officials at DHS, Secretary for Defense and former
ICE, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and Counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on
staff of Congressional committees with Immigration, Border Security, and
responsibility for immigration policy are Refugees; and Thurgood Marshall, Jr, a
now executives and board members at former Assistant to the President and
these private prison and immigration Cabinet Secretary, former Director of
detention companies. These individuals Legislative Affairs and Deputy Counsel
maintain professional and personal for the Vice President, and former
relationships with their former Counsel to the Senate Judiciary and
government agencies or committees, to Government Affairs Committees.
benefit the corporations that they now

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

The revolving door also includes new private immigration detention

members of Congress and state and facility creates local jobs and are good
local elected officials.43 Paul Senseman, for the local economies. One response
a lobbyist for the Corrections could be to develop and implement best
Corporation of America, worked for both practices in local contracting to ensure
Senator McCain and as deputy chief of that the construction and operation of
staff for communications for Arizona the private detention facility do in fact,
Governor Jan Brewer, who signed SB optimize economic benefits to minority-,
1070 (Senseman’s wife also is a women-, and other disadvantaged
lobbyist for Corrections Corporation of businesses and community members.
America). Cesar Conda, a lobbyist for However, deeper analyses of the local
The GEO Group, became Senator economic impacts of private immigration
Rubio’s chief of staff. Clarence Anthony, detention also are needed.
executive director of the National
League of Cities, is a member of the There is evidence that working in
board of The GEO Group. detention facilities is not a “good job”,
with a high level of stress, and potential
The revolving door also is bipartisan. exposure to on-the-job violence.
Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) Individuals who work in detention
joined the Corrections Corporation of facilities often have higher rates of
America board after he retired from the mental heath issues, substance abuse,
Senate. Representative Vic Fazio (D- and domestic problems, including a high
CA), a former chair of the Democratic rate of divorce.44
Congressional Campaign Committee,
became a lobbyist for the Corrections There also are complex issues related
Corporation of America at his law firm, to housing, transportation, and other
Akin Gump, which was paid at least businesses (restaurants, hotels and
$200,000 in 2006 to lobby on behalf of motels, local transportation for visitors,
the private corporation on immigration etc.) that need to be examined. Many of
reform legislation. these private immigration detention
facilities are located in very remote and
Immigration Detention Jobs are Not isolated sites (because such land is
Good Jobs cheaper and there are fewer challenges
One of the challenges in countering by neighboring businesses and
increased federal government spending residences that would oppose a
on private immigration detention is that detention center in the neighborhood).
such facilities do create new jobs in the Those that end up working at them often
local areas where the private commute in from areas where there are
immigration detention facilities are more housing options and other
located. Not coincidentally, such community services. Accordingly, any
facilities are often located in rural and economic impact analysis must be both
remote areas, where there have been local and regional.
less economic opportunities and
stagnant local economies. Profiteering from Construction of a
“Wall” at the Southwestern Border
Without alternative economic Meanwhile, President Trump continues
development options available to local to seek billions of dollars in federal
communities, it will continue to be funding for a “wall” across the entire
challenging to counter the facially 2,000-mile southwestern border.
persuasive arguments that building a However, in 2017, a General Accounting

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

Office (GAO) report concluded that such that work on the wall (Assembly Bill
federal expenditures would be a poor 946);50 the bill did not advance.51
investment,45 repeating similar
conclusions from a 2009 DHS Inspector The 2006 Secure Fence Act provided
General report.46 $12 billion for fencing and walls along
the southwestern border, but by 2011,
Among the challenges in constructing a only $2.3 billion was actually spent on
continuous wall or other barrier is that new fencing and barriers along the
much of the border between the state of border (354 miles of pedestrian barriers
Texas and Mexico includes the Rio and 300 miles of vehicle barriers). $78
Grande River, which cannot be million was spent on securing 600
physically separated by a “wall.” In parcels of private property for that
addition, the majority of the immediately fencing.
contiguous land on the Texas side of the
border is private property: farms, However, the Trump administration’s
ranches, orchards, even golf courses. plans to build a wall will create
The federal government would have to profiteering opportunities for additional
file and win thousands of eminent corporations. $20 million already was re-
domain claims even to get access to allocated from the Department of
those parcels of privately-held Defense (DOD) budget to commission
property.47 About 85 eminent domain designs for the wall.52 Despite Trump’s
cases authorized by the Secure Fence requests for as much as $25 billion in
Act of 2006 remain in litigation; one the FY2018 budget, the final budget
claim to gain access to just five acres only provided $1.6 billion for border
was settled for $5 million.48 walls and fencing.53

Construction corporations already have

profited from these federal government
contracts.54 In 2017, Caddell
Construction (Montgomery, AL), Fisher
Sand & Gravel (Tempe, AZ), Texas
Sterling Construction (Houston, TX),
and W.G. Yates & Sons Construction
Source: Washington Post (Philadelphia, MS) each were awarded
contracts ranging between $320,000
Many businesses and local elected and $486,000 to build concrete
officials in border towns oppose a wall prototypes for the wall.55
because they know that it is prohibitively
expense and ineffective, and would
depress local cross-border commerce
that is vital to their local economies.49

In addition, there may be financial

consequences for corporations that
engage in federal contracting to build
the wall. In 2017, a bill was introduced in
the California Assembly that would
Source: Washington Post
require the state’s two public employee
retirement systems (with $514 billion in
holdings) to divest from any companies Additional contracts were awarded to
Caddell Construction and W.G. Yates &

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

Sons, as well as to KWR Construction defense contractors such as Boeing

(Sierra Vista, AZ) and ELTA North Company, Lockheed Martin
America (Annapolis Junction, MD) for Corporation, Raytheon Company, and
prototypes using materials other than Northrop Grumman Corporation have
concrete.56 It is not a coincidence that had federal government contracts to
one of these successful contractors, provide such products and services.58
W.G. Yates & Sons Construction, is
located in Mississippi and provided For example, between 2006 and 2011,
nearly $15,000 in political contributions the technology-based Secure Borders
in 2016 to Mississippi Representatives Initiative (SBInet) expended $1.3 billion
Steven Palazzo and Trent Kelly, who but the effort was abandoned after cost
are members of the House Armed overruns and failures to complete
Services Committee and have contracted tasks.59 The Boeing
supported the use of DOD funds to Company was the primary contractor
support border wall construction.57 that was supposed to construct a “virtual
fence” along the southwestern border
using surveillance technologies, but the
technology was only able to cover about
50 miles of the border before it was
abandoned. In FY2012, Lockheed
Martin Corporation had a $102 million
contract from DHS to provide aircraft
and data processing, and the Boeing
Company still had a $36 million contract
from DHS to provide border fencing,
architecture, and engineering services.60

These major defense contractors, such

as Boeing Company and Lockheed
Martin, make millions of dollars in
Source: Taxpayers for Common Sense political contributions annually61 and
spend tens of millions of dollars on
Profiteering from Other Expenditures lobbying each year.62 There also are
on Immigration Enforcement many former federal government
There also is a significant relationship officials now serving in key staff and
between increased federal government board positions at these private, for-
spending on immigration enforcement profit corporations as well as former
and additional business opportunities executives from these corporations now
and profits for the multi-billion dollar serving in leadership positions at the
U.S. defense contractor industry. Department of Defense.63
Spending on immigration enforcement
has included surveillance technologies, These business and profit opportunities
drones, heat sensors, radiation-based will continue under the current
monitors, and iris and face recognition administration. The FY2018 budget
technologies. Corporations such as Iris included an additional $400 million for
ID, Crossmatch, and Unisys Corporation border enforcement technology.64
already have contracts with DHS. Other

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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

Immigration Enforcement Jobs are Profiteering from Immigration

Not Good Jobs Enforcement Will Continue
President Trump also has proposed For the FY2019 budget, the Trump
increasing border and immigration administration has requested $2.7 billion
enforcement personnel by 15,000.65 for immigration detention, $1.6 billion for
Both the GAO and the DHS Inspector additional border wall construction, $571
General66 have noted the serious million for 2,000 additional ICE
deficiencies in DHS’ hiring, training, and personnel, $211 million for 750
personnel management capabilities that additional Border Patrol personnel, and
have made it challenging to fill even $182 million for additional border
currently vacant positions. It is not clear surveillance technology.69 Regardless of
that, even if there is federal funding how many and where new private
appropriated for these increased immigration detention facilities are built,
number of positions, whether DHS has and what specific border “wall” or other
the organizational capacity to fill those immigration enforcement expenditures
positions. In the FY2018 budget, are ultimately authorized by Congress,
Congress only authorized 328 new private, for-profit companies are poised
positions; so President Trump has now to continue to gain multi-million dollar
turned to mobilizing the National Guard contracts and make significant profits
for border enforcement activities.67 from immigration enforcement.

There are complex questions for local Researched and written by:
communities, especially in border areas Ignatius Bau
where many of these new positions 1067 Market Street Suite 3007
San Francisco, CA 94103
would be located, whether these
immigration enforcement jobs are “good
jobs.” The DHS Inspector General has
noted that many in the ICE workforce Thanks to Ford Foundation Senior Program
are under-trained, overworked, and do Officer Mayra Peters-Quintero for her
not have the information and tools to do support and guidance on this project.
their jobs. It is not clear what other
economic opportunities or alternative Detention Watch Network, The Influence of the
jobs are available in these border areas. Private Prison Industry in the Immigration
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September 2018
Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
Immigration Detention and Enforcement

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Exposing Corporate Profiteering from
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