MuckRock reports that the infrastructure of America’s “detainee?-deportation machine” is largely private, with corporate prison operators controlling 62% percent of the incarcerated immigrant population. Last year, U.S. immigration authorities made 486,651 apprehensions and exported 315,943 individuals. The detainment that occurs between capture and deportation has been outsourced to private firms that are paid billions of taxpayer dollars and contribute millions to political campaigns.
Over the past year, MuckRock has been investigating the system in its series Private Prison Project. The Boston-based news organization has obtained and released thousands of documents obtained through FOIA requests that show how for-profit prisons have leveraged the legal system to their advantage, letting companies pick-and-choose inmates to off-load costs, ignore complaints and concerns, and create dangerous conditions for prisoners and staff alike. Most of the private facilities are in the South, primarily in Texas with others scattered along the border from San Diego to Florida.