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World Under Pressure on Immigration, Biden Gives ICE A Pass on Private Prison Ban

00:12  20 february  2021
00:12  20 february  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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Yesterday, President Biden issued an executive order that many are referring to as a “ ban ” on private prisons . The truth is more complicated, and in general reflects the diversity of connections between the US government and the private prison sector. This past week has served as an interesting test of Over the course of the Trump administration, ICE significantly expanded the number of immigrants in detention, adding over 17,000 beds to the system with over 80% of immigrants in detention housed in privately -run facilities. Nancy Treviño of Presente.org said, “The inhumane and cruel conditions that

7. Bans are at moderator discretion. We reserve the right to eject users (as well as remove, lock, or otherwise moderate any content on the subreddit) for reasons not listed if we consider it necessary to do so. EDIT: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will need preapproval from a senior manager before trying to deport anyone who is not a recent border crosser, a national security threat or a criminal offender with an aggravated-felony conviction, according to interim enforcement memo issued by the Biden administration Thursday.

President Joe Biden has cracked down on private prisons run by the Department of Justice, but his new executive order failed to address other private detention facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its cross-border wing, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

a truck with graffiti on the side of a building: An L.E.D. truck displaying messages expressing concern over the continuing mass deportations of Black immigrants drives past the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prior to a #BidenAlsoDeports rally on February 15, in Washington, D.C. The rally was held to raise the alarm over continued mass deportations of Black immigrants, even after the administration unraveled the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) issued by the previous administration. © Jemal Countess/AFP/Getty Images An L.E.D. truck displaying messages expressing concern over the continuing mass deportations of Black immigrants drives past the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prior to a #BidenAlsoDeports rally on February 15, in Washington, D.C. The rally was held to raise the alarm over continued mass deportations of Black immigrants, even after the administration unraveled the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) issued by the previous administration.

Biden signed Executive Order 14006 six days after his inauguration, which directed that "The Attorney General shall not renew Department of Justice contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities, as consistent with applicable law."

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Biden echoed her words, and he berated DeSantis for having left Florida’s economy open during “the dark days of Covid.” Moreover, Biden claimed he had unilateral and constitutional authority to protect the nation’s health from “rogue politicians” acting in contravention of established health guidelines. Florida had arrested the spread of Covid-19, DeSantis argued, and accused Biden of targeting Republican states that supported Donald Trump. “Florida absolutely will not comply,” DeSantis repeated. “Instituting a travel ban or restriction of movement would be a gross example of federal

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( Ice ) is preparing to resume deportations of asylum seekers after a Trump-appointed Texas judge ruled against a 100-day suspension ordered by Joe Biden . An Ice plane left San Antonio for Port-au-Prince on Monday morning carrying Haitians detained on the US-Mexican border and expelled under a highly controversial Ice interpretation of public health laws. “Deportation flight to Haiti on the first day of Black history month,” Guerline Jozef, co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, wrote in a text to the Guardian.

The move was welcomed by prison reform proponents, who have long raised the alarm on reports of inhumane conditions and the broader ethical questions of for-profit incarceration.

"The current executive order is a great start in addressing the role of private prisons in the Department of Justice," said Morgan Simon, an investor and activist who is the founding partner of Candide Group, "citing that these prisons 'consistently underperform,' and 'do not maintain the same levels of safety and security.'"

She noted that the Order would result in a sizable hit to revenue for top private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group. But she and other critics of the U.S. private prison complex pointed to a major shortcoming in the directive: Most federally contracted private detention facilities are operated by ICE.

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Biden 's immigration bill includes a provision that would limit presidential authority to issue future bans . Revoke Trump's order excluding noncitizens from the census count. Trump signed a presidential memorandum last year that would exclude undocumented immigrants when splitting seats in the A group of House Democrats, led by Rep. Linda Sanchez, announced Wednesday they will lead the effort to pass Biden 's immigration bill on Capitol Hill. In a narrowly-held Senate, the climb on immigration is steep especially given how far to the right Republicans have moved on the issue since the 2013

President-elect Joe Biden will have an opportunity to enact significant changes to U.S. immigration policy. Giving Back Gets Creative During The COVID-19 Pandemic. That would include the most high-profile measures, such as the ban on the entry of individuals from primarily Muslim countries. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) plastered the faces of dark-skinned immigrants on

Biden's executive order, she argued, "doesn't address the fact that the majority of government contracting with private prison companies is actually with ICE, and that ICE facilities managed by private prison companies have equally been shown to be hotbeds of human suffering."

As the Biden administration is about to complete its first full month in office, it remains unclear if detention facilities operated by DHS or ICE will be addressed with a future executive order.

The White House referred inquiries from Newsweek to DHS, whose new chief, Alejandro Mayorkas, was confirmed by lawmakers earlier this month.

"DHS is committed to ensuring that all those in our custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments," a DHS spokesperson told Newsweek. "Secretary Mayorkas will review many immigration policies in the weeks to come, including detention policy."

Mayorkas, who served alongside Biden in the Obama administration as deputy DHS head, said during his confirmation hearing last month that he did not support defunding ICE.

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Biden also signed three other executive orders relating to racial discrimination, including a commitment to Native American tribal sovereignty, a condemnation of anti-Asian bias, and a review of Trump administration policies that undermined protections under the Fair Housing Act. Crucial Quote. Private prisons have long been criticized by advocates as a poor substitute for government-run facilities. Former President Barack Obama introduced a plan to gradually phase out private prisons by scaling back contracts or allowing them to expire in the final months of his presidency.

President Joe Biden vowed to ultimately put an end to private prisons , but activists says the move The order does not appear to apply to similar contracts with other agencies like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ). U.S. private prison revenue under pressure from new Biden rules.

Asked if he thought ICE deserved additional support, he said he "would have to study the conditions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, how efficiently it's using its resources and how it is best serving the American public."

"That requires my study," Mayorkas said.

In an apparent move toward limiting operations, Acting ICE Director Tae D. Johnson announced new operating guidance Thursday that sought to more clearly identify the cases that present credible threats to national security, and defines more stringent pre-approval procedures on civil immigration cases.

"By focusing our limited resources on cases that present threats to national security, border security, and public safety, our agency will more ably and effectively execute its law enforcement mission," Johnson said in a statement.

As internal debate plays out on the executive level, legislators have also stepped up in an attempt to push through substantive reform on ICE and private prisons.

Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona reintroduced the "Justice is Not for Sale Act" last week in hopes of further curbing private prison practices that flourished under former President Donald Trump.

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"For too long, private prisons and detention centers have benefited from lucrative government contracts and taxpayer dollars to profit off the pain and suffering of adults and children," Grijalva said in a statement. "They created perverse profit incentives that helped facilitate a mass incarceration crisis that has disproportionately impacted immigrants and communities of color."

The bill would ban federal, state, and local governments from contracting with private prison companies and end immigrant family detention.

Grijalva said he would support an executive action alongside his bill, but emphasized that laws change far less frequently than executive orders.

"Of course I would welcome any executive action that would expand President Biden's ban on private prisons and for-profit immigrant detention centers and end the perverse profit incentives that have allowed mass incarceration to thrive," Grijalva told Newsweek. "But an executive order can always be reversed by the next administration. Congress must permanently codify legislation like the Justice is Not For Sale Act to ensure a permanent ban on federal, state, and local entities from contracting with private prison companies."

Simon, who has utilized socially aware impact investment that allows clients to divest from private prison firms, said Grijalva's bill would be "a great complement to the executive order," but also called on Biden to issue another executive order that "would enable Biden to honor his pledge to fully eliminate private prisons."

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"And in general, Biden's policy proposals, including thoughtful pathways for legal status, the end of cash bail and sentencing reform," Simon said, "should allow us to build systems that can end our infamy as the country that incarcerates more people than any other in the world."'

Private prisons account for a disproportionate number of immigration-related detentions. Human Rights Watch reported that, "As of January 2020, more than 80 percent of people detained in ICE custody were held in facilities owned or managed by private prison corporations."

That figure has real-world consequences for people like Julio, a Cuban who fled to Panama and attempted to make it to the U.S. via caravan but was detained in Texas and transferred to Georgia's CoreCivic Stewart Detention Center. He's been incarcerated there for 18 months, awaiting deportation.

"At this point I don't care if they drop me in the Sahara desert," Julio—a pseudonym for his name which has been withheld—said in a statement sent to Newsweek. "They need to let me free."

In the context of immigration, Sentencing Project Deputy Director Kara Gotsch said that private prisons are "an entirely different ballgame."

"The feds are uniquely dependent on private prison operator capacity for them to maintain the detention levels that, particularly under the Trump administration, were prioritized," Gotsch told Newsweek, "where there was a huge increase in the number of people held in immigration detention."

She attributed this overall rise in immigration detention to "the proliferation of private prisons, and their desire to increase beds and take in more bodies to feel their bottom line."

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Like Simon of the Candide Group, she welcomed the most recent executive order as a step toward eliminating private prisons within the far larger DOJ system, in which less than 10 percent of inmates were in private facilities, but saw the exclusion of DHS in Biden's announcement as a glaring oversight.

"To ignore that entire component in the immigration space, in looking at what perpetuates private prisons," Gotch said, "if we're operating on the assumption that private prisons are harmful and are capitalizing on our fascination with locking people up, that is where we really need to focus, that's really where the administration should make it a top priority to eliminate the use of private facilities."

a man in a police car parked in a parking lot: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrest an undocumented Mexican immigrant during a raid in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn on April 11, 2018 in New York City. Immigrant detention rose under former President Donald Trump, a trend some activists attribute to a rise in private prison use. John Moore/Getty Images © John Moore/Getty Images U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrest an undocumented Mexican immigrant during a raid in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn on April 11, 2018 in New York City. Immigrant detention rose under former President Donald Trump, a trend some activists attribute to a rise in private prison use. John Moore/Getty Images

American Civil Liberties Union senior advocacy and policy council Naureen Shah reached a similar conclusion.

Shah told Newsweek that Biden's executive order is "an important first step, but it needs to extend to immigration detention."

She noted that considering the number of immigrants in private prisons, and the fact that up to a quarter of their profits came from ICE contracts, "the Biden administration must break ties with any business whose model is profiting off the human misery of incarceration."

She called for broader efforts to end the present costly and controversial strategy of locking away scores of individuals attempting to enter the country for no reason other than the fact they were not born here.

"This system of mass immigrant incarceration must be dismantled," Shah told Newsweek. "It is deadly, abusive, and a horrible use of taxpayer resources."

She said this is just the start of true reform.

"Ending contracts with private prison companies is an important start, but it's just the beginning," Shah said. "The administration must shut down facilities, reduce ICE's budget, and meaningfully shrink the ICE enforcement infrastructure that has abused and traumatized immigrants in the U.S."

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Vicente Gonzalez, Texas Democratic Representative, Calls Biden's Immigration Plans 'Catastrophic' .
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