Biden plans to end contracts with private prison companies

Immigration enforcement within the US during the last four years

Since one of President Trump’s main promises during his political campaign was to reduce immigration, mainly illegal, his administration implemented multiple strategies and action plans to curb illegal immigration at the borders and “teach a lesson” to immigrants who managed to cross them without documentation and currently reside within the US.

Within Trump’s plans, mass immigration detention played a key role, including asylum seekers and vulnerable communities crossing borders to request international protection. To achieve the goal of reducing illegal immigration, the Trump administration used the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) branch called ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

This federal entity, under the Trump administration, increased operations conducted within the US to detain undocumented immigrants, mainly those with pending legal charges or criminal records, and initiate deportation proceedings for them.

One of ICE’s tools is Immigrant Detention Centers, where it takes undocumented foreigners detained during operations at the borders or within the country. Undocumented immigrants must wait in these centers until their deportation processes are completed or, if they meet mandatory requirements, until they receive a response to their immigration applications.

Since immigration detention increased disproportionately during Trump’s term, ICE’s centers do not have enough space and his government had to use services of private prison companies.

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Private prison companies funded Donald Trump’s campaign

The benefit private prison companies received during Donald Trump’s term was gigantic. Financing his immigration plans was more expensive than during other administrations, despite the fact that these strategies were supposed to help the country’s economy, which is a contradiction.

Let’s see some important facts:

  • The federal government must pay between $120 and $140 daily for each immigrant detained in private prison.
  • Several major private prison companies such as GEO Group and CoreCivic earned about $1.3 billion annually (during Trump’s term) for housing immigrants in their facilities.
  • 30% of the income of private prison companies currently depends on contracts with ICE.

It is important to clarify that most of this investment comes from federal funds, therefore, from taxpayers who are American citizens.

For the 2020 elections, the main sponsors of Donald Trump’s campaign, who was seeking reelection, were these private prison companies.

Biden plans to end contracts with private prison companies

Democratic candidate Joe Biden took the victory during the 2020 presidential election. This was a huge impact to private prison companies. In fact, GEO Group and CoreCivic lost value on the stock market after the elections as their stocks dropped 14% and 19% respectively.

During his political campaign, Biden stated that his administration would not create new agreements with private prison companies to detain immigrants, but would reform immigration processes to improve the detention system within the US.

On the president-elect’s official website, there is a section about immigrant detention. Regarding this issue, the incoming government would prefer to use services of non-profit entities, which are usually foundations or humanitarian organizations that house undocumented immigrants during their processes and make sure they attend their appointments and hearings.

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