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PSL: ‘Corporate greed and racism created Arizona anti-immigrant law’

By: Frank Levine at

Private prison corporations sought increased profits for jailing allegedly undocumented immigrants

Arizona’s barbaric anti-immigration law SB 1070, now facing federal court challenges, was created to not only scapegoat immigrants, but also feed the boundless greed of capitalists. Private prison corporations and politicians worked hand in hand in the law’s creation as they drooled at the prospect of huge profits through the unjust detention of thousands of undocumented immigrants.

Boston SB 1070 protest
Protest against SB 1070

According to a recent National Public Radio report, reactionary Arizona legislators worked closely with at least one private prison corporation to create the onerous SB 1070 bill at an American Legislative Exchange Council conference held in Washington late last year.

The monster they created was nearly identical to SB 1070 presented to the Arizona legislature by state Sen. Russell Pearce, who attended the conference. He is a known racist with ties to extremist groups, including neo-Nazis.

Pearce received “additional guidance” from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, another notorious racist group with connections to Pearce.

ALEC, meanwhile, is a secretive members-only group that attracts legislators from around the country to be bought and sold by big business in the shadows, circumventing scrutiny and the reporting requirements of traditional lobbying activities. Members freely admit that many of the council’s 200 big business members actually write laws for “lawmakers.”

So as long as lawmakers play ball with the big boys at ALEC and allow powerful business interests to literally write their own laws, the corrupt, conservative legislators are showered with perks and favors, including extravagant meals, trips and even child care.

Meanwhile, among the powerful corporations belonging to ALEC is the multi-billion- dollar Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the country, according to the NPR report.

CCA already has six prison facilities in Arizona, three of which are run all, or in part, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and where hundreds of undocumented migrants are already imprisoned, often for months or years.

Apparently, however, the huge profits they are already making is not enough for CCA, which not only helped draft the racist bill at the ALEC conference, but reportedly had influential friends in high places help push it through, including a bevy of former CCA lobbyists and hacks on the staff of Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law on April 22.

The law gives local police the power to determine the immigration status of any individual by demanding “proper” documentation of their status. If the person is suspected of being in Arizona “illegally,” they can be arrested and jailed on state misdemeanor charges. Once their sentence is completed, they can be turned over to federal immigration authorities to face possible additional charges and expulsion from the country.

For CCA, the new anti-immigration law couldn’t have come at a better time, especially now, when the once-promising boom in private sector prisons seems to be ending.

CCA documents indicate the industry has slowed in recent years as thousands of prison beds are unused, entire facilities have been closed and states are becoming reluctant to spend big money in tough economic times.

Company executives also fear a growing trend in community supervision, expanded probation and parole alternatives, and new monitoring technologies, so the industry is now forced to seek “creative” ways to stabilize profits and stockholder dividends. Further restricting their future profits, costs are soaring, and it is now often more expensive to house a prisoner in a private prison than in a state facility, according to Arizona Department of Correction reports released in early 2010.

Their reason for private prisons to exist is now being challenged.

To protect what profit margins remain, private prisons “cherry pick” prisoners so the companies are not burdened with high medical costs, pushing that responsibility back on the state.

The solution, CCA executives freely admit, is to increase the number of ICE detainees, as immigrant detention translates into bigger profits, often two to three times greater than with regular state prisoners.

Arizona’s Department of Correction reported earlier this year that it pays companies on average between $48 and about $58 a day for state prisoners, depending on services offered. On the other hand, ICE, through the Department of Homeland Security, pays up to nearly four times more, depending on services offered, according to Lori K. Haley, Public Affairs Officer/Spokeswoman for DHS/ICE.

While DHS and ICE pay just $64.47 to the Bureau of Prisons and CCAfor immigrant prisoners at the Eloy Detention Center, in Eloy, Ariz., it pays a $94.10 daily rate to CCA at the Central Arizona Detention Center in Florence, and an astronomical rate of $197.87 at the Florence Correctional Center, in Florence, to another private prison firm, Asset Protection & Security Services, L.P.

So it’s little wonder why such an unjust and racist law was passed. Once again big  business, working hand in hand with corrupt and racist politicians, has placed profits over humanity.

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  1. Benito Benito November 15, 2010

    “Prop. 200”, “House Bill 2013? and “SB1070?

    0 = Arizona
    3 = USA/ Our Constitution/ We the People of the United States

    We are a country that is ruled by the Constitution (with all Amendments), and the Declaration of Independence, not by the majority of the day. When the uneducated do not know the principles in these documents, therein lays the problem in losing, so no one should be surprised when the dullards lose in court after being smartly challenged.

    Last month of October 2010, our Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Arizona’s requirement that people show proof of citizenship to register to vote or the 2004, “Prop. 200”. In the month of July 2010, our U.S. Federal courts have found the so called State of Arizona hate filled legislation namely “House Bill 2013? and “SB1070? Un-constitution (So much for the intellect of Jan Brewer, “Did you read the bills you signed?”). But we all know that they will go crying to the Supreme Court of the United States, please, please, please go. We will fight you in Arizona, any other state, and yes in Washington DC. We will not tire, we will not be silent and we will persevere, I promise you.

    In my opinion the Republican Party has been taken over the most extreme of clans; the Baggers, Birthers and Blowhards (people who love to push their beliefs and hate on others while trying to take away the rights of those they just hate) and that’s who they need to extract from their party if they real want to win in November. Good Luck, because as they said in WACO, “We Ain’t Coming Out”.

    I know the proponents of this law say that the majority approves of these laws, but the majority is not always right. Would women or non-whites have the vote if we listen to the majority of the day, would the non-whites have equal rights (and equal access to churches, housing, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, schools, colleges and yes water fountains) if we listen to the majority of the day? We all know the answer, a resounding, NO! You were all wrong then and you are wrong now!

    I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by people of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all people are created equal, and that the rights of every person are diminished when the rights of one person are threatened. All of us ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated, but this is not the case.

    Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. In a time of domestic crisis people of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics and do what is right, not what is just popular with the majority. Some people comprehend discrimination by never have experiencing it in their lives, but the majority will only understand after it happens to them.

  2. paulie paulie November 11, 2010

    I don’t think the PSL opposes immigration, although they probably agree with me that it should be legal.

    Presuming they took power in one country, rather than simultaneously all over the world, I tend to think emigration, not immigration, would become their chief concern.

    But as for this article, I do think they raise some good points.

  3. Steve Steve November 11, 2010

    Interesting take. Where I come from, the left blames “corporate greed” for the increased illegal immigration, not for enhanced border controls. I guess the left can have its cake and eat it too.

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