Who is Profiting from Incarcerating Immigrant Families?
June 21, 2018
In recent weeks, the Trump administration’s cruel policy of separating children from their parents who are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border dominated news headlines. Disturbing images and audio clips from processing centers and shelters housing children generated mass outrage among millions of people and numerous elected officials. More than 2,300 children that have been separated from their parents linger in shelters like the former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, which houses around 1,500 children and has come to symbolize the larger story.
After days of intensifying public pressure and outcry, the Trump administration finally decided yesterday to end its policy of family separation, though families will remain in detention indefinitely. Nor does Trump’s order address what will happen to the children who have already been separated from their parents.
Against this backdrop, there has been increasing concern over who exactly has been profiting from these policies that incarcerate immigrant families. Who are the companies, investors, banks, and top executives that stand to make money – or are already profiting – off of the zero tolerance and family separation and indefinite detention policies? And more importantly, can they be pressured to end their complicity with and enabling of Trump’s inhumane immigration policies?
Campaigns like Sleeping Giants have been working hard to uncover and circulate this information, and articles like David Dayen’s recent piece in the Nationhave further unraveled the web of interests profiting from this carceral machine. This article builds upon these efforts to identify some of the major profiteers from the incarceration of immigrant families based on what we know right now.
These profiteers fall into several categories: for-profit private prison companies like CoreCivic and GEO Group that operate family and adult detention centers, and non-profits like Southwest Key Programs that operate child detention centers; contractors that provide support services to this process, such as MVM and General Dynamics, which provide IT, transportation, case management, and other logistical services; and on top of it all, Wall Street banks like Wells Fargo, as well as major money managers like BlackRock and Vanguard, which are financing and investing in all of these companies.
A broad effort to hold the companies and individuals accountable that are enabling and profiting from Trump’s immigration policy is not only moral – it’s strategic. As Dayen writes, without these contractors providing essential support, ICE’s “whole rickety structure will fall on itself.” Profiteers such as