Isn’t it about time that this system of detention was stopped. It is inhuman and violates human rights — if you would like to know more about why it is inhuman, please read the issues briefing listed below this article by Christine Ho.
CHRISTINE G.T. HO
December 27, 2012
The U.S. immigrant detention system consists of approximately 250 centers, a massive gulag of pri- vately-run prisons sprawled across the United States in remote locations, designed to warehouse unauthorized immigrants between arrest and de- portation. Immigrant detention has tripled over the past decade due to increased use of detention as a method of immigration enforcement (Amnes- ty International 2009). In 2001, approximately 95,000 individuals were detained, compared with 380,000 in 2009 (Kunichoff 2010).
The chief beneficiary of this spectacular growth is the privatized U.S. Prison Industry. In 2011, private prison companies housed nearly half of all immi- gration detainees. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is the largest Immigration and Cus- toms Enforcement (ICE) contractor, operating a total of fourteen ICE-contracted facilities with a total of 14,556 beds. The second largest ICE con- tractor GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) operates seven facil- ities with a total of 7,183 beds. In 2011, CCA re- ported annual revenues of $1.73 billion and GEO $1.6 billion (National Immigration Forum 2012).
Although ICE claims that only immigrants with criminal histories have been deported, 58% of immigrants in detention in 2009 had no criminal con- victions (Bacon Immigration Law 2011). During President Obama’s first term, 1.4 million immi- grants have been deported (Preston 2012), more than under eight years of President George W. Bush (Kunichoff 2010). Interior policing and depor- tation of unauthorized immigrants by the federal government has almost quadrupled in the past 5 years (Heyman 2010).