Who really profits from the spew of bills recently advanced by the legislators across the country, and here in Texas, that make immigration enforcement a state matter?
The answer is private prison corporations. In a recent feature on National Public Radio, it was made abundantly clear to anyone who cared to listen that the real motivation behind the Arizona anti-immigrant bill titled SB 1070 was profits for the private prison industry, which hoped to garner new markets from contracted prisons they would build to house the estimated tens of thousands of immigrants, undocumented and otherwise, that they believed would be snagged in this ever-widening net. Now, no one likes to make a dollar more than yours truly. Yet is there anything more cynical than hoping to write a law that imprisons women and children in order to make that buck?
Corrections Corporation of America and other for-profit prisons stand to make out like bandits if the Faustian bargains succeed. But a few politicians are also benefiting from the deal:
A Tennessean survey of campaign finance records shows that CCA, its officers and their families contributed more than $95,000 to campaigns in the state this past election cycle. The company also had five lobbyists on its payroll working at the Tennessee legislature this year.
CCA is also making the rounds in Idaho. Denton Darrington (R-Declo), chair of the Senate Judiciary& Rules Committee, received a donation from CCA.Other members of the committee who received CCA donations include Patti Anne Lodge and Dean Mortimer, Republicans who received CCA contributions include Mike Moyle, John McGee, Joe Stegner, Lawrence Denney, Darrell Bolz, Russ Fulcher, Clif Bayer, Dean Cameron, Maxine Bell, Janice McGeachin, Steve Kren, Brent Crane, Fred Wood, Eric Simpson, Jeffrey Thompson, Bert Brackett, Frank Henderson, Jim Clark, Jim Hammond, and Butch Otter. Democrats who received CCA contributions include James Ruchti and Diane Bilyeu.
While Idaho politicians did not rake in quite the largess that Tennessee (and I imagine other states) did, the state did not go unnoticed by CCA.By spreading around a little money (under $10,000 reported), CCA gets a contract worth $27 million to run a prison that is currently a target of ongoing litigation regarding its "gladiator school" conditions.
Coming soon - their own private Idaho.