While the United States has an extensive history of race-based exclusion policies and practices, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was created in 2003 in response to 9/11. ICE operates as a bureau within the US Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) and took over what was formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Corrections Corporation of America (Core Civic) and the GEO Group lobbied to create prisons for immigration in the 1980s, which allowed immigration to be turned into a for-profit system. To this day, the GEO Group receives more taxpayer money for immigration detention than any other ICE contractor.
According to an ACLU Research Report, in the U.S. there are more than 200 immigrant prisons with over 70% of detainees being held in privately-run immigrant prisons. In 2017, private prison systems stocks went up 100% when Trump promised to bring harsher sentences to illegal immigration and crime in his 2016 election campaign which specifically targeted Latinx folks. And the data does not lie.
Since 2017, ICE has open 40 new detention centers bringing the total to 220 throughout the United States. By the end of 2019, over 25% of inmates in ICE custody were being held in these new facilities. Furthermore, inmates at these new facilities face lesser chances of being released on bond with judges denying bonds at a higher rate than the national average.
In 2019, ICE detained an average of 50,000 people each day with that number exceeding 56,000 at times during the year. This is a nearly 50% increase from the Obama Administration. As of January 2020, 81% of people detained in ice custody are held in privately-held prisons.
In terms of budget, the Trump Administration is requesting $4.1 billion in taxpayer funding in FY2021 for the purpose of expanding ICE's daily capacity to 60,000 people on any given day.
Currently, ICE has been receiving attention for “losing track” of 1,488 children in 2018 and this mistreatment of the men, women, and children who have been detained. As well as overcrowding of detention centers, lack of medical attention, lack of toiletries, unaccompanied minors, and overall disregard of care. ICE lacks access to legal counsel and has no limitation on confinement.
In 2014, the influx of unaccompanied minors skyrocketed. The regulations of putting children into "sponsors" home (think foster care) become close to none. The government did not fingerprint the sponsors or require any paperwork that identified who they were. Undocumented parents, afraid of their own deportation, had to use sponsors to get their children back home.
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