Analysis, Commentary

Bold Solutions to Fight Private Prison Industry’s Influence on Immigration Detention Policy

Protestors link arms outside the Otay Mesa Detention Center, which is owned and operated by private prison company CoreCivic, in San Diego, June 2018. (Source: Center for American Progress)
Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)—July 16, 2018
By: Michael Sozan

The private prison industry spends big money in political contributions and lobbying and now stands to reap massive profits from immigration detention policy decisions made by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans, according to a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress.

The industry’s two largest companies, GEO Group Inc. and CoreCivic, operate many of the immigrant detention centers used to lock up asylum-seeking families, including small children and others seeking better lives in the United States, the brief says. For several years, these companies have been hiring premier lobbyists and donating big money to President Donald Trump and members of Congress, especially members who sit on the committee that heavily affects their bottom lines.

“It’s time for Congress to pass bold anti-corruption solutions to clean up the culture of corruption that often benefits wealthy special interests at the expense of average Americans,” said Michael Sozan, a senior fellow at CAP and author of the issue brief.

The prison industry’s ability to take advantage of a flawed system is among the topics at a July 16 CAP Action Fund discussion featuring House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

One bold anti-corruption solution that CAP has recommended is to ban contributions to lawmakers from donors who have interests before the committees on which members of Congress sit. Another is to ban lobbyists from fundraising for politicians.

Read the issue brief: “Solutions to Fight Private Prisons’ Power over Detention Policy” by Michael Sozan