Friday, August 24, 2007

Privatizing misery, deporting and imprisoning migrants for profit

The hidden agenda of the border hype:

Security guards and prisons in the dollars-for-migrants industry


By Brenda Norrell
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

SASABE, Ariz. -- Another industry has been privatized in the United States by the Bush administration. This time it is the transportation of migrants for deportation.
The Wackenhut Corporation, whose buses wait along the border to be filled with migrants for deportation, is actually a subsidiary of the Danish security corporation G4S (Group4/Securicor.)
G4S, with headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex, England, is listed on the stock exchanges in London and Denmark.
Some border residents are concerned that a foreign-owned corporation, and not a U.S.-owned corporation, is handling security and deportations of migrants at the border. Many are concerned that a corporation is profiteering from migrant deportations. Wackenhut/G4S took over these duties from the U.S. Border Patrol.
The executive director of the watchdog group Private Corrections Institute, Ken Kopczynski, wrote to the Censored Blog about the owners of Wackenhut.
"Great piece on the Minutemen and immigration, but Wackenhut is not connected to GEO Group. Group 4 bought out Wackenhut Corporation a number of years ago and sold off the corrections unit to George Zoley and friends. Part of the agreement was that they could no longer use the name Wackenhut, which currently is a subsidiary of Group 4/Securicor. Hope this helps and keep at ‘em," wrote Ken Kopczynski, executive director of Private Corrections Institute.
Imprisoning migrants for profit
George Zoley is CEO of GEO Group, Inc., which operates privatized prisons across the nation, including the notorious prisons in Florence, Arizona.
Building prisons for immigrants has been profitable for the GEO Group. In the year 2007 alone, GEO Group won contracts for a prison in Eagle Pass, Texas; an immigration detention facility in Jena, La. and a detention facility for U.S. Marshals service in Laredo, Tex.
After the Jena, La., immigration detention facility reaches full occupancy with 1,160 inmates in 2008, GEO expects $23.5 million annually in revenues.
GEO, whose major shareholder is Zoley, donated $100,000 to George Bush's reelection campaign in 2004. (GEO was previously called "Wackenhut Corrections," but no longer uses the Wackenhut name.)
Texas has some of the most notorious migrant prisons
GEO Group, with headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., received a 10-year contract in January, for the detention of 2,407 "criminal aliens" at the Reeves County Detention Complex in Texas.
GEO took over the county's contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. GEO said it believes that the facility in Reeves County, with the county seat in Pecos, is the largest privately-operated prison in the world.
In Taylor, Texas, near Austin, another for-profit company, Corrections Corporation of America, imprisons migrant and refugee infants and children at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Recently, a prison guard exposed maggots in the food there. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, was denied a request to tour Hutto in May, 2007. (Scroll to the end for more links on Texas prisons.)
Halliburton and migrant prisons
Halliburton's Kellogg Brown and Root received a contract for $385 million to build immigration detention centers "in the even to an emergency influx of immigrants." After obtaining the contract from Homeland Security in Jan., 2006, Halliburton separated from KBR. Then, Halliburton moved its headquarters to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in 2007.
Guarding and transporting migrants for profit
Meanwhile, the Danish-owned, G4S/Wackenhut Corporation describes its contract with Border Patrol.
On Aug. 30, 2006, Border Patrol and the Wackenhut Corporation signed a one-year agreement, with four one-year performance periods, to provide “Guard and Transportation” services to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
Wackenhut said the scope of the contract covers the entire southwest United States/Mexican border to include Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
"The value of the agreement is approximately $50 million dollars per year, with a total contract value of $250 million dollars over the five-year period," Wackenhut states.
"Transport service will initially involve over 100 secure, motor coach buses to include state of the art confinement systems, on-board digital/video surveillance, GPS tracking and over 270 armed security personnel from Wackenhut’s Custom Protection Division."
With project headquarters in Tucson, Wackenhut said there would be three additional support centers in the southwest border operations.
During a recent protest of labor struggles in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported, "Wackenhut is a subsidiary of the global security contractor G4S, which is under fire from international human rights groups and trade unions for alleged racist practices against black employees in South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique."
Wackenhut also imprisons Australian aboriginals and refugees in Australia.
The Wackenhut Corporation provides nuclear security and energy consulting services, according to its website.
Controversial security contract for Danish-owned Wackenhut
After taking over migrant deportation services from the Border Patrol, G4S/Wackenhut, announced on May 14, 2007, another controversial security contract, one at the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility.
Wackenhut, from its U.S. headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., announced that the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration selected Wackenhut for award of the Oak Ridge Complex Protective Services Contracts.
These contracts provide for the security support services for the 33,725 acre Oak Ridge Reservation including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Federal Office Building Complex and the Y-12 National Security Complex, Wackenhut said.
In August, peace activists were arrested at the atomic energy site, Y-12, a high-level security complex with a long history of secrecy, in Oak Ridge, Tenn:
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2007/aug/05/annual-y-12-protest-draws-200/

More information:
Background: "CorpWatch: Wackenhut's Free Market in Human Misery" (1999)
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=868 Bush donors get kickbacks with contracts and favoritism

Bush Pioneers 2004
The list of those donating $100,000 to the Bush campaign in 2004, includes GEO Group (which won multiple contracts to imprison migrants in Texas and Louisiana in 2007.)
The list includes lobbyist Jack Abramoff, officials from Wal-Mart, Verizon and the Christian Coalition, along with Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, other senators and a member of the Federal Reserve: http://www.nndb.com/group/715/000117364/

G4S/Wackenthut:
http://www.g4s.com/


Readers respond:

Raymondville, Texas, migrant tent city prison:

Your list of infamous immigrant prisons being run for profit probably isn't complete without the "Tent City" in Raymondville, Texas. It's a series of temporary structures that was assembled in 90 days.You can see the whole range of prisons for profit in Texas at http://texasprisonbidness.org/about-private-prisons/texas-private-prisons-map
Some are contract prisons for ICE, others are holding state prisoners from other states, some are holding youth. There's a lot of populations that can be confined for profit. Keep writing about it!
Kathleen

Wackenhut sites exposing abuses:
Enjoyed your post on Wackenhut and border patrols interesting. Have you seen http://www.eyeonwackenhut.org/ and http://www.focusong4s.org/?
Those two sites have info on Wackenhut's many problems and rights abuses in the U.S. and abroad(Texas Prison Bid'ness)e:
http://www.privateci.org/


Please send comments on this article to: brendanorrell@gmail.com

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http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Your list of infamous immigrant prisons being run for profit probably isn't complete without the "Tent City" in Raymondville, Texas. It's a series of temporary structures that was assembled in 90 days.

You can see the whole range of prisons for profit in Texas at http://texasprisonbidness.org/about-private-prisons/texas-private-prisons-map

Some are contract prisons for ICE, others are holding state prisoners from other states, some are holding youth.

There's a lot of populations that can be confined for profit. Keep writing about it!

Kathleen (Texas Prison Bid'ness)