Private Contractors Turn Louisiana Immigration Detention into Big Business

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The Louisiana immigration detention system has become a robust business for private service providers, with the entities managing the facilities being paid as much as three times what the state previously paid per inmate, reports The Advocate. In 2020, the Department of Homeland Security provided the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) about $3.14 billion to operate the system — even though a Government Accountability Office report published in January 2021 found numerous instances in which the need for facilities was not proven.

Meanwhile, advocates say that ICE has increasingly denied asylum seekers parole and prolonged their average detention time in some Louisiana ICE facilities in an effort to detain as many people as possible, to keep immigrants there as much as possible and to make as much money as possible over them. One of the ICE offices that granted fewer parole requests nationwide was the New Orleans Field Office which, in 2018, granted parole to only 1.6 percent of eligible asylum seekers.

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