By Alex Jimenez
NEW YORK, NY- The American Civil Liberties Union and YouGov recently conducted a poll that revealed 68 percent of voters want the federal government to stop contracting with for-profit prison corporations in opening private immigration detention centers.
This popular mandate stems from a documented history of “inhuman conditions and twisted business models by the private prison industry,” said the ACLU.
The ACLU noted that as cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 surge, these facilities are especially vulnerable to outbreaks, putting increased pressure on the Biden Administration to follow through its campaign promise to end for-profit immigration detention.
Despite its promise to end the Trump Administration’s ICE detention policies, the Biden Administration has continued to seek new contracts with private prison companies to detain immigrants through the country, said the ACLU.
“This pledge has broad support from the American people, and they want the President to follow through,” wrote Brian Tashman who is the senior campaign strategist for ACLU.
He charged the President has made a conservative effort to deal with the private prison industry by signing an executive order to phase out contracting with private prison companies.
Tasgman added this order, however, did not apply to private immigration detention facilities. For-profit companies like CoreCivic and Geo Group have exploited this loophole by landing new contracts, turning old federal prison facilities into immigrant detention centers.
The ACLU maintains the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have moved forward with plans to contract with private prison companies often located in areas far away from communities with immigration attorneys.
Immigration advocates like the ACLU note that, through his campaign, Biden pledged to “end for-profit detention centers” in his “Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants,” claiming, “No business should profit from the suffering of desperate people fleeing violence.”
Biden’s “Plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice ” makes a similar proclamation, disapproving the federal government’s use of private facilities for detention including detaining undocumented immigrants, the ACLU and others admit.
But ACLU’s Tashman urged the President to fulfill the wishes of the American people and follow through his campaign promise to end its pursuit of expanding federal contracts with private prison corporations for detention.
“It’s time to close private prisons and shut down the immigrant detention machine notorious for COVID-19 surges, physical brutality, sexual abuse, racist mistreatment, and denials of due process, not expand it,” according to Tashman.