Thursday, April 12, 2012
Here is a critical report on the status of immigrant detention in the United States.
The Nation also has an investigative story on immigrant detention. Deportations of undocumented immigrants have reached a record high under President Obama, making US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the operator of the the world's largest immigration detention system. That means big business for state jails and private prisons, which compete for ICE's detainees in exchange for federal dollars. Investigative Fund reporters Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan Seville take us to Ocilla, Georgia, a two-stoplight town that relies on the privately managed Irwin County Detention Center for employment and revenue. For the past two years, state officials and the prison company lobbied ICE to send detainees their way, sweetening the deal by charging $45 daily per detainee, half the price of facilities up north. Despite concerns that the Irwin facility was too far away from legal services and ICE oversight, the agency contracted with the struggling facility — at the expense of undocumented detainees, who report a lack of clothing, soiled bedding, and insufficient food. County leaders once saw ICE's business as their "salvation," but detainees didn't come fast enough. The prison is now bankrupt and the county deep in debt. "How One Georgia Town Gambled its Future on Immigration Detention" was reported by Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan Seville in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.