Wells Fargo Profits from Private Prisons
As big banks inject record amounts of cash into lobbying this year, largely aimed at access to financial regulators, Wells Fargo, in particular, stands out because of its added rapacious dimension of investments in for-profit prisons and immigrant detention centres. Certainly, legal wrangling over deportation policies is politicised. Yet, whereas pre-9/11, undocumented immigrants were summarily deported to their country of origin by border patrol agents along the border, post-9/11 for-profit detention centres are hugely profiting from the detention of scores of immigrants apprehended throughout the country, not just along the border at the point of entry.
Meanwhile, one of Wells Fargo’s biggest investors, the for-profit prison firm GEO Group, Inc., invests millions in lobbying for ever more draconian anti-immigrant legislation, as Eric Dolan (in the article below) and Hyun-Mi Kim (in the interview below) explain. Kim notes, the racist anti-immigrant SB 1070 Bill in Arizona was shaped in large part by the nation's top-two for-profit prison firms GEO Group, Inc. and Corrections Corporation of America. The two firms, says Kim, raked in a whopping $2.9 Billion in profits in 2010.
As regressive policies, such as NAFTA, create economic refugees forced to migrate from Latin America to the U.S. in search of employment, predatory anti-immigrant policies, shaped by for-profit prison firms, incentivise prolonged detentions, such as at the notorious T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Texas, as Davey D notes (below).
Kim correctly points out the complete betrayal by Obama to his campaign promises of compassion towards immigrant communities. Not only have record numbers of immigrants been imprisoned under Obama’s support for the regressive policies of I.C.E. and S-Comm, but Obama has even run defence on behalf of for-profit detention centres by exempting them from the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. As Frontline has reported, immigrants “held in U.S. immigration detention facilities filed more than 170 allegations of sexual abuse over the last four years, mostly against guards and other staff at the centers, according to government documents obtained by FRONTLINE and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).” Thus, not only must immigrants endure economic abuse, class-warfare, and arbitrary detention, but torture as well.
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