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Thursday, May 24, 2018

When arresting people becomes a business

Por qubano22005

The United States is the land of opportunities and as hard as it may seem, it is true that everything is about money. The increase of "detainers" has been a headache even for Trump himself, who has already claimed even the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, to do something about it. However, already some local government entrepreneurs have seen their goose that lays the golden eggs on that growing problem, so companies and local governments have proposed the construction of new immigration detention centers in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Donald Trump's crusade against emigration is portending a good income to the coffers of private prison contractors.

The request for more detention centers responds to a demand from the Immigration Customs Services (ICE) Surveillance Bureau that intensifies the arrests in US Midwest. Not in vain, among the reasons that are suspected have formalized the resignation of Thomas Homan, former ICE’s head, is precisely his decision to get involved in the lucrative business of private prisons. Maybe the ICE official has already heard of the big numbers that were moving and wants to be part of the “race for the greens” and not to be left behind.

Reports indicate that these proposals were mostly sent by private contractors. Interestingly, last October an application had been filed for detention sites near Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Utah and St. Paul, Minnesota. Perhaps Homan wants to dedicate himself entirely to his "family" and “coincidentally” he has been feeling uncomfortable in the chair of the ICE boss for months, despite being one of the cruelest persecutors of migrants. The reason is surely that his official salary is not up to what his income could be as corrections’ investors.

The fact is that, and to see how "immaculate" American politicians are, ICE pays private companies to house approximately two-thirds of those detained for being illegally in the country. For that business CoreCivic and GEO are mainly the companies hired.

A spokesperson of CoreCivic, Steven Owen, said his company has close ties to ICE. According to the correctional company, options are being evaluated to address current or future needs. Among the potential places identified by the company for new immigrant detention centers are Minnesota, Illinois and Wyoming, as well as Michigan.

Currently, it has not been clarified if ICE will initiate the approval of some of the contracts for the creation of additional detention centers, but it is known that it has begun the competition to win the bids for those contracts. However, ICE members have revealed neither the places nor the states where the correctional facilities will be built.

Since Donald Trump seized the power, the number of undocumented detainees has increased something Thomas Homan boasts about. ICE increased arrests in the country by 40% during the first months of 2017. As expected the fulfillment of the presidential orders has demanded a greater number of centers to house the arrested. Hence, the agency will publish an advertisement seeking "multiple potential detention sites." However, and to date, Congress has refused to approve a funding request to expand the capacity of 40,000 immigrants to more than 51,000.

Under Homan's administration, the number of detainees without criminal records rose threefold, from 17,000 to 46,000, although the Agency has defended itself with data that reveal that 92% of those arrested and deported have criminal convictions, pending charges, were fugitives from the law or had illegally re-entered the country. The number of arrests has increased by 41%.

Despite the idea of increasing the number of detention centers by ICE and the expectations of lucrative contracts by companies such as CoreCivic, the citizens of several cities such as Elkhart County, Indiana, have opposed to it is spite of private companies such as Core Civic and GEO try to prove the enormous benefits for these communities arguing work opportunities and local taxes that would go to the public treasury.

Curious is that Trump has just claimed precisely to Nielsen the "detainers" increase, a fact that displeases the president because it implies the potential entry to the country of emigrants. And although the Secretary of Homeland Security has tried to explain why, the increase in contracts and private correctional companies in creating new detention centers gave her the appearance of having an edge and to question her work.