U.S. Study Finds Immigrants Imprisoned to Boost Prison-Corporation Profits

Eric Zuesse

93% of the people who are locked up in the U.S. in order to meet the minimum legal requirements for the number of people who must be locked up on possible violations of U.S. immigration laws, are locked in for-profit prisons, which are owned by corporations that heavily fund a few politicians, including Hillary Clinton.

That 93% finding was published on June 20th, in a study by the Center for Constitutional Rights, titled, “Banking on Detention: Local Lockup Quotas and the Immigrant Dragnet”.

Ghita Schwartz, Senior Staff Attorney for CCR, said, in releasing the report: “Almost all guaranteed minimums are found in facilities that contract with private prison companies, and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] actively collaborates with these companies to keep details of their contracts secret.”

On 28 April 2015, the Washington Post published an article, “How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about: Sen. Marco Rubio is one of the biggest beneficiaries.” It failed to include one crucial fact: Hillary Clinton is the other.

On 6 October 2015, Vice News revealed that fact when they headlined “How Private Prisons Are Profiting from Locking Up US Immigrants”, and showed that Hillary Clinton was by far the top recipient of funds from Corrections Corporation of America, and that Marco Rubio was by far the top recipient from the other of the industry’s giants, GEO Group, and that both candidates had raked in around the same total amounts from the industry. Furthermore: “The political contributions are the visible tip of the iceberg of the influence these folks wield.”

Consequently, U.S. immigration policies are highly shaped by corruption. Large corporations and their board members and their PACS don’t invest this money for nothing. They’re good at business. They’re buying policy, and the people who write and implement policy are basically their employees — just on the government’s payroll (and in order to get onto the government’s payroll, these politicians need those campaign contributions). After retirement from the government, government officials get hired by what libertarians naively call ‘the productive economy’ (other institutions that are as beholden to the big-money people as the government itself is). It’s like a person’s being hired by different subsidiaries of the same corporation.

This is the reason why 93% of the people who are locked up in the U.S. in order to meet the minimum legal requirements for the number of people who must be locked up on possible violations of U.S. immigration laws, are locked in for-profit prisons, which are owned by corporations that heavily fund a few politicians. It’s simply good business. Rotten government is good for the businesses that invest in it.

And this is the reason why, as The Nation headlined on 13 August 2014, “The US Keeps 34,000 Immigrants in Detention Each Day Simply to Meet a Quota”.

Interestingly, The Nation, since it’s a Democratic Party propaganda-sheet (just like, for example, National Review is a Republican one) headlined on 8 February 2016, “The Democratic Presidential Candidates Would End Private Prison Contracts: A Nation investigation found startling medical neglect inside privatized, immigrant-only federal prisons. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton say they would end these, and all, private prison contracts.” However, the top people at that magazine aren’t really so naive as to believe that this would be the case if Clinton becomes their nominee. They’re just pretending to believe her words. They might try to find hires who are dumb enough to comply, if the hires aren’t themselves writing what they don’t really believe. That’s the way the ‘journalism’ game is played: the public be damned. And that way, for example, even a President as bad as Obama can still be praised, and so can such a catastrophically bad Secretary of State as Hillary Clinton.

The best thing that can be said about Donald Trump is that the Republican Party hates his guts and calls him a “fascist.” The second-best thing is that Trump has no record in public office and there’s thus no way of knowing what his policies really would be. What’s the best thing that can be said about Hillary Clinton? That she condemns some of the stupid things that Trump says? But why should one believe either person? Has either of them earned belief on the part of the public? Hillary has earned belief on the part of her mega-donors, but, has either of the two prospective nominees earned belief on the part of the public?

Such facts as “The US Keeps 34,000 Immigrants in Detention Each Day Simply to Meet a Quota” are merely symptoms of problems that run to the foundation of today’s America. The only prominent politician who has even been talking about those problems is Bernie Sanders, and his actual record in public office is remarkably close to his public rhetoric. That’s why I am hoping that his campaign for the White House will continue until November 8th — even if he then is no longer a ‘Democrat’. My vote can’t be bought or sold. It’s based entirely on a person’s record in public office — and only on that.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • Sampao

    In the end those detention facilities will be used to incarcerate US citizens who were openly (and foolishly) campaigning against government policies for many years, especially militias, Second Amendment advocates, patriotic movements, occupiers, etc.

    • jo6pac

      Yep, fema camps here we come;)

    • wunsacon

      2nd Amendment advocates turned a deaf ear and blind eye to Uncle Sam’s violation of the other amendments. Metaphorically speaking, they’ve been watching the inside perimeter very carefully while completely ignoring the enemy setting up artillery on the surrounding hillsides.

  • diogenes

    Hillary Clinton is the PROGRESSIVE Democratic Party candidate for President — doncha know.

    • wunsacon

      “fauxgressive” — I’m beginning to love that term. I conclude it covers much of the “left”, including blogs like DailyKos, RawStory, and Alternet.

      Some of the readers “know better”. For instance, almost all the comments on Alternet criticize the articles for going easy on Hillary and hard on Trump — and they’re not Trump supporters.