Private Prison Industry Helped Create Anti-Immigrant Law in Arizona
Monday, November 01, 2010
Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration law wasn’t just the product of state Senator Russell Pearce’s effort to undo the “lawless” condition that illegal immigration has imposed on the nation. It was also driven by the private prison industry’s drive for profits.
According to an investigation by NPR, the legislation was drafted last December during a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization of state legislators and large corporations and associations, including tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil, the National Rifle Association and the largest private prison company in the U.S.: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). It was only afterwards that Pearce presented his bill to the state legislature.
With immigration detention considered an important new source of income, CCA made sure to be in the room when the bill was drafted. Once the legislation was introduced in January, 36 cosponsors signed on—30 of whom wound up receiving donations over the next six months from prison lobbyists or prison companies, including CCA, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.
As for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law on April 23, her spokesman, Paul Senseman, and her campaign manager, Chuck Coughlin, are both former lobbyists for private prison companies.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law (by Laura Sullivan, NPR)
Making a Profit from Detaining Immigrants (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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