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Are Migrant Central American Children A Financial Boom For Some Americans?

Familes and Children Held In U.S. Customs and Border Protection Processing Facility
Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images

For a small group of U.S. companies that have contracts with federal agencies that deal with illegal immigrants, the recent wave of border crossings has become a lucrative business opportunity.

Private prison companies such as Geo Group and Corrections Corporation of America, stand to gain if Congress approves emergency funding for family detention facilities. The two companies have thousands of unoccupied beds in their prisons and jails that potentially could be modified to house immigrant families.

According to government contracting data compiled by SmartProcure.us., Geo Group alone has been awarded nearly $880 million from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in the past six years. SmartProcure is an online data base that provides analytics and software that allows the tracking of products and services used by local, state and federal governments. In July, ICE, the agency responsible for immigration detention, modified its contract with Geo Group to convert the company’s adult detention center in Karnes County, Texas to house families, which will greatly increase the companies government income.

The Geo Group could also benefit if lawmakers go with programs that promote other forms of tracking and securing immigrants awaiting deportation. The company’s Colorado subsidiary, Bi Incorporated, is ICE’s sole provider of ankle bracelets used for tracking immigrants who have been caught violating immigration laws, but have been released while their cases are being prending.

But there are other examples of companies whose bottom line is affected by the recent influx of immigrants. New Mexico-based CSI Aviation is used by ICE to provide charter flights for its deportations. The company has been received more than $657 million in contracts for its services since 2008, SmartProcure data shows. CSI referred all questions about its contracts to ICE. ICE said the company is the sole contractor for ICE Air, which conducts deportation flights.

The federal government has also been buying tickets on American Airlines for commercial flights to shuttle unaccompanied kids and immigrant families to detention facilities or shelters around the United States. American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller declined to say how much the government has spent on these flights or how many tickets they have purchased. He said American did not have formal contracts and that the tickets were being purchased on an as-needed basis.

Some government contracts have gone to businesses that provide emergency clothing and supplies for the youth shelters and for translation services used in asylum hearings and immigration courts. Other contracts have been awarded for translation services and case management services. There has even been a contract awarded to provided infant diapers and pull-ups.

It only goes to show that there is big money to be made in the shelter, care and processing of these migrants. It also shows that there are many companies that would benefit from the flood of illegal immigration continuing, regardless of the opinions or well being of the American public.

 

[Reuters]

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