News: Questionable efficacy of detention program for asylum seekers

News: Questionable efficacy of detention program for asylum seekers

As Central Americans surged across the U.S. border two years ago, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a deal that offered generous terms to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison company, to build a massive detention facility for women and children seeking asylum.

Source from Inside the administration’s $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers – The Washington Post

It has already been two years since the decision by the Obama administration to grant a billion-dollar contract to the largest prison company in the United States, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to detain asylum-seeking immigrants. This measure responds to a surge of Central American immigrants, and it has been very profitable for the CCA despite its questionable efficacy, since they receive a fixed amount of around 20 million dollars a month. The CCA receives this sum even if the detention facilities are not at full capacity, a measure which has implied record revenue for the company. These facilities represent the forced initial home of most women who immigrate with their children in search of a better life.

Most of these immigrants come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where drug and gang-related violence levels are among the highest in the world. The detainment center represents an effort by the current administration to mitigate illegal immigration. In light of the ineffectiveness and the cost of this measure for American citizens, many are reconsidering whether the prison systems should be treated as a business for mega-corporations like the CCA, a company which already demonstrated between 2006 and 2009 that it is incapable of administering an effective family detention center. Moreover, when the facilities are only at half capacity, as has been the case during these past few months, the fixed payment to the CCA implies that the government uses around $570 per immigrant per day, more than $17,000 per person. In spite of all this, the amount of women and children detained crossing the border is practically the same, with 66,000 people during the past twelve months compared to 61,000 during the previous year. Generally, families remain in the installations for a couple of weeks while they go through an initial interview process.

The CCA has remained pretty quiet throughout these allegations of inefficacy, and there is growing pressure on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to review these contracts which imply such a large cost for the government of the United States and such a large benefit for companies like the CCA.

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