Immigration Newsletter

Monday, November 15, 2010

Show Me The Money! The big business of Immigration Detention.

The link above is to just one of the many recent stories about how the US government is putting record numbers of non-citizens in jail. This particular article focuses on how many of these detainees are moved (without notice or hearing) away from their families and their lawyers to detention facilities in the South and the Southwest.

There is big money to be made by for profit prison contractors in those states (at tax payer expense of course). That is one reason why our elected representatives have stalled and blocked any meaningful plans for immigration law reform. There is plenty of campaign money for candidates with a "get tough on immigration" platform and the massive media drumbeat for increased immigration enforcement isn't just going to pay for itself.

The South and the Southwest, or more accurately the corporations in those regions, want to continue cashing in on transfers of taxpayer money from the Northeast and the Northwest. So they will need to keep us afraid of Latino immigrants -- that way we will continue to pay up to make them disappear.

There is really no good reason not to reform the US immigration laws. There are rational policy changes that can be adopted that will make the system better. Not surprisingly, I favor increasing legal immigration and creating a process for legalizing the status of many of the people who are now here illegally. However, some proposals to fix the system that might restrict more immigration and strengthen enforcement are at least rational.

But as long as there are vast sums of money to be made by exploiting the current dysfunctional immigration system -- there will be a strong incentive to work against fixing it.