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The last time we wrote about the private prison industry, they were raking in profits hand over fist thanks to the increased number of immigrant detentions under the Trump Administration. The private prison company GEO Group had seen its stock price triple since Trump’s election, and has been eagerly planning for new detention centers and new sources of profit.
GEO Group had another earnings call this week, according to Think Progress, and they are still alarmingly optimistic. Technically, GEO’s profits declined two percent in its second-quarter earnings report — company officials blamed the decreased revenue on the fact that border crossings are now at a 17-year-low — but officials said the company had nothing to fear, thanks to a predicted “gradual increase in interior enforcement.”
Here’s what Brian Evans, the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of GEO Group had to say:
While in the past, ICE processing centers have been primarily utilized for individuals detained for multiple illegally border crossings, increasingly, ICE intends to utilize contract bed capacity for interior enforcement. Accordingly, ICE has requested additional funding to expand its detention bed capacity.
In other words, GEO Group is expecting banner profits in the future because ICE is expected to be detaining and deporting more immigrants. These immigrants won’t just be coming from border regions — where immigrants are more likely to be recent crossers — but from the interior of the United States. That means people like Lourdes and Jesus, Maribel and Roberto — mothers and fathers who have lived and worked in the US for decades, who have put down roots and raised US-citizen children. That’s who the GEO Group can’t wait to detain and help deport. Donald Trump’s mass deportation agenda is real, and companies that profit off it are hoping to do even more profiting.
Evans further noted that the company’s future looks bright due to the House Appropriations bill, which would allocate $4.4 billion for increased immigration detention and enforcement, as well as an expectation that the “average length of stay” for immigrants in detention will increase. Evans further hoped that new detention centers would have to be built around the country to address demand. As he said:
The new interior enforcement initiative may very well provide additional opportunities due to the need for establishing additional processing centers throughout the country rather than only clustered along the southern border. We are responding to ICE regarding their need to their additional capacity in the North and the Northeastern part of the United States.
The GEO Group is one of the two largest private prison companies that ICE contracts with, even though it’s repeatedly come under fire for inhumane conditions at its detention centers. Nine immigrants have died in detention this year, including five at facilities operated by GEO and three who died in three months at the same GEO center in California. Yet the Trump Administration awarded the company a $110 million contract to build an immigration detention center that houses 1,000 people — perhaps because GEO contributed $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration, while a subsidiary gave a similar amount to a superPAC helmed by one of Trump’s most influential donors.