Things That Matter

ICE Is Teaming Up With Private Detention Centers To Detain As Many People As Possible Because Of Money

A recent study by Detention Watch Network and Center For Constitutional Rights is exposing the practice of “guaranteed minimums” at privatized immigration detention centers in the U.S. Consequently, these guaranteed minimums serve as cost-effective incentives for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain as many people as possible. They’re written into contracts to guarantee that a certain number of beds will be filled at a certain price. Some contracts even guarantee that the more people detained, the less ICE has to pay for bed. This time, it’s all about detaining mothers and children to make a quota. And, of course, ICE is not about to tell anyone the full story.

It seems U.S. detention facilities are entering the world of monetizing the detention of immigrants.

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Credit: VOA News / YouTube

According to the Banking On Detention study, Congress enacted a “quota” of detained immigrants that, today, stands at 34,000 beds nationwide. Not only is it tearing hundreds of thousands of families apart, it also costs U.S. taxpayers $2 billion annually to maintain the “detention bed quota” ICE is expected to maintain.

Some private detention centers have gone even further with contractual “guaranteed minimums.” Essentially, ICE is having to pay for more than 12,000 beds nationwide to pacify money-hungry private prison companies.

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Credit: detentionwatchnetwork.org

And, just like the privatization of the prison system, the guaranteed minimums are leading to more and more people being detained in detention centers all over the U.S.

And to hit their guaranteed minimums? ICE has started to detain more mothers and children. The more people in the facilities, the more cost effective the private facilities are.

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Credit: ICE / MSNBC / YouTube

That’s right. ICE is offering up children to these private prison companies as guarantees of payment for the beds.

Some of these same privately owned detention centers offer a sliding scale on pricing.

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Credit: MSNBC / YouTube

This means that the more people ICE sends to those detention centers over the minimum, the more ICE gets in savings. Like a f-cking sale. Not even saying you have family and are seeking asylum will keep you from ending up in a detention center.

Of course, that is just what ICE is willing to tell us. When Detention Watch Network first submitted its Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request, ICE responded like:

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Credit: Seinfeld / NBC / gyfcat.com / Reddit

Seriously. ICE decided that they did not want to comply with the request for information pertaining to the number of people being detained and the amount of money being spent to hit the guaranteed minimums. FYI, FOIA requests are guaranteed to all citizens by law, so simply avoiding a request is, you know, illegal.

So, the request naturally found its way to a federal court, where the judge ruled the ICE had to release the documents requested for the study.

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Credit: Judge Judy / Paramount / Agent M Loves Gifs / Giphy

When ICE finally handed over the documents, they redacted the thing to hell and back, leaving very little information even visible.

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Credit: The Simpsons / Fox / Longroof / Reddit

“Almost all guaranteed minimums are found in facilities that contract with private prison companies, and ICE actively collaborates with these companies to keep details of their contracts secret,” Ghita Schwarz, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said in a press release. “The public should have a full understanding of how ICE rewards and incentivizes profiteering off the detention of immigrants.”

We’re a long way from understanding the full impact and reach of these guaranteed minimums, even as new detention centers are popping up faster than Walmarts.

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Credit: MSNBC / YouTube

All we really know for sure, at this moment, is that children and their mothers are ICE’s new targets to make sure the “guaranteed minimum” is makes financial sense. Because $$$ apparently trumps humanity.


READ: Your Throat Will Knot Watching These Latinos Tell You About The Day ICE Took Their Parents

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Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

Entertainment

Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

The media advocacy group Define American recently released a study that focused on the way immigrant characters are depicted on television. The second-annual study is entitled “Change the Narrative, Change the World”.

Although the study reports progress in some areas of onscreen representation, there is still a long way to go.

For example, the study reported that half of the immigrant characters depicted on television are Latino, which is consistent with reality. What is not consistent with reality, however, is how crime-related storylines are still an overrepresented theme in these storylines.

The study shows that on television 22% of immigrant characters have crime storylines show up as part of their narratives. These types of storylines further pedal the false narrative that immigrants are criminals, when in reality, they’re just everyday people who are trying to lives their best lives. Ironically, this statistic is an improvement on the previous year’s statistics in which crime themes made up 34% of immigrants’ stories on TV.

These numbers are further proof that the media feels stories of Latino immigration have to be about sadness and hardship in order to be worth watching.

According to Define American’s website, their organization believes that “powerful storytelling is the catalyst that can reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.”

They believe that changing the narratives depicted in entertainment media can “reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.” 

“We wanted to determine if seeing the specific immigration storylines influenced [viewers’] attitudes, behavior, or knowledge in the real world,” said Sarah Lowe, the associate director of research and impact at Define American to Variety. “And we were reassured and inspired to see the impact it had.” 

Define American’s founder, Jose Antonio Vargas, is relatively optimistic about the study’s outcomes, saying that the report has “some promising findings” and the numbers “provide [him] with hope”. He added that there are still “many areas in which immigrant representation can improve”.

via Getty Images

Namely, Vargas was disappointed in television’s failure to take an intersectional approach to immigration in regards to undocumented Black immigrants. 

“Black undocumented immigrants are detained and deported at higher rates than other ethnic groups,” Vargas told Variety. “But their stories are largely left off-screen and left out of the larger narrative around immigration.” 

“Change the Narrative, Change the World” also showed that Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants are also under-represented on television compared with reality. Also worth noting, male immigrants were over-represented on television compared to reality, while immigrants with disabilities were also under-represented.

The study also showed that when viewers are exposed to TV storylines that humanize immigrants, they’re more likely to take action on immigration issues themselves. 

The effect that fictional entertainment narratives have on viewers further proves that representation does, indeed, matter. What we watch as entertainment changes the way we think about other people’s lived experiences. And that, in turn, can change the world.

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#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

Things That Matter

#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

@salmahayek / Instagram

The 2020 election is heating up. There are a lot of hot button issues at stake from reproductive rights and affordable access to healthcare to climate change and civil rights. The Latino Victory Project is using their resources to get Latinas to commit to voting with the understanding that their children will inherit the world they leave behind. Here’s how.

The #VoteLikeAMadre campaign is just that, voting like a mother.

The campaign is getting people, specifically Latinas, to vote for their children. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing people during the 2020 elections. That is why #VoteLikeAMadre is asking for people to pinky promise a better future for their children using their ability to vote.

The campaign hinges on the most important promise you can make to your kids: a pinky promise.

A pinky promise is so important with the children, you know. We all remember making our parents make pinky promises to make things happen for us to to give us things we really wanted. They were unbreakable promises that you constantly reminded your parents of making.

People are already taking the pledge to vote for candidates who have plans to combat climate change.

An estimated 1 billion people live in areas that are being affected by climate change. These people could all become climate refugees by 2050. That is one-seventh of the world’s population being displaced because of climate change. Our actions now can help to mitigate some of the damage that scientists expect.

People of color are among the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the negatives affects of climate change.

Latinos, as well as other communities of color, put a lot of importance on the climate crisis. Environmental justice is an issue that Latinos have been fighting for as our communities are often subjected to negative climate and environmental issues. According to a Yale study on climate change, Latinos are the most concerned about the climate crisis and its impact.

Early voters are already following through with their promises to fight for the climate.

Fighting for the climate is the same as fighting for the children. It is not a surprise that those who are younger will be the ones to inherit and live on the planet longer. Actions now can either ruin or save the planet and its climate for the generations to come.

“Many people assume that the only people who really care about climate change are white, well-educated, upper-middle-income, latte-sipping liberals, and it’s just not true,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication told PBS. “Actually, the racial and ethnic group that cares more about climate change than any other is Latinos.”

You can learn more about #VoteLikeAMadre, go to their website.

You can learn more about the campaign and the fight to save the climate here. Share with us about what you want to see most in the next leaders of the U.S. by commenting below.

READ: American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

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