Detaining Migrants – Who Benefits?

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According to the Washington Post (2/2/07), the number of immigrants held in detention by Homeland Security’s ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has surged 30% since 2005.

    North Carolina passed legislation mandating local sheriff’s departments to carry out ICE tasks.  On any given day, 80-90 undocumented people are held in the Burlington jail.  The facility, filled well beyond capacity, is pulling in $61/day per ICE detainee.  ICE detainees brought in more than $152,000 in June.

    Raymondville Detention Center: located 40 miles north of the Mexico border near Brownsville, TX; run by the for-profit Management Training Corporation of Utah under contract with the Department of Homeland Security; holds 2000 persons from all over the U.S. awaiting processing for suspected immigration violations; security is as heavy as the adjacent federal prison; inmates stay for months on end in windowless tents 23 hours a day far from their families, with no privacy, inadequate food and medical care, and very limited access to lawyers; local activists compare conditions to Guantánamo.

    Stewart Detention Center: located in Lumpkin, Georgia (population 1284); surrounded by double chain link fence and razor wire; operated by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America; opened October 1, 2006.  Shortly afterwards, ICE raids of workplaces around the country increased, and Stewart was soon filled with 1500 men locked inside.

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