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