The For-Profit Immigration Imprisonment Racket
Private companies with close ties to government agencies are standing in the way of progress
by: Andrea Jones
Immigration officials sought out undocumented immigrants to apprehend for minor crimes in order to boost deportation numbers, a trove of internal correspondence revealed last week. According to USA Today, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees were instructed to dig through DMV records for foreign-born license applicants, patrol traffic checkpoints and verify the immigration status of low-level offenders before their release from local jails – efforts that contradict the agency’s pledge to limit expulsion to “dangerous criminals,” and encourage racial profiling in order to meet what amount to quotas. “The only performance measure that will count this fiscal year is the criminal alien removal target,” advised ICE supervisor David Venturella in an email to field officers in April.
The dangerous intimacy between the immigration and criminal justice systems is fostered by executives with high stakes in the human consequences – people like Venturella, who, according to Grassroots Leadership, took a new job in July as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at the GEO Group, the second highest grossing private prison company in the country.