Texas: Immigration Detention Capital of the Country

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Texas is number one again today. To our trophy case of great honors, we add Most Beholden To Private Corporations, When It Comes To Illegal Immigration.

The Detention Watch Network recently released aggregated data about the big business of immigration detention. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains about 33,000 immigrants per day, the data says. The cost is enormous: in 2009, each detainee cost taxpayers about $122 per day.

Private corporations have caught on. The first private detention center in the country popped up in Houston in 1984. By 2009, 49 percent of ICE detainees were housed in private detention facilities.

Texas is the only state with more than 10,000 privatized beds for detainees, so naturally, we're corporation bait. One of the largest private providers of detention beds, Geo Group, Inc., made $1.17 billion in 2010. They started construction this year on a new 600-bed facility in Karnes County, between Corpus Christi and San Antonio.

Federal lobbying for immigration legislation has increased exponentially, right along with the money they make off of throwing illegals behind bars. Private bed providers have spent more than $20 million lobbying the government from 1999-2009. Groups targeted are often scarily specific -- the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Administration for Families and Children, for instance. Says the study:

This inventory of targeted agencies and legislation suggests that CCA [Corrections Corporations of America, the biggest private contractor] is attempting to shape labor regulations, encourage privatization in the Bureau of Indian prisons, and expand family detention.

It doesn't stop at lobbying. These private corporations have even drafted anti-immigrant legislation.

Check out the facts and graphs here.

H/T: Grits For Breakfast.

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