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October 28, 2010 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Arizona's Immigration Bill Was Drafted By Private Prison Companies
posted by empath (94 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
The irony is that the small-government-less-spending crowd rallies behind this.

I am so tired of that irony.
posted by Xoebe at 9:14 AM on October 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


Utterly disgusting. Privatizing the prison system was not a very good idea America. I'm sure that privatizing the armed forces (as the recent wiki-leaks episode demonstrated the reliance on mercenaries overseas) will prove to be an equally bad idea.

Fuck.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:16 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Privatizing the prison system was not a very good idea America.

But it's so efficient!
posted by theodolite at 9:17 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


My outrage threshhold has gotten a lot higher over the last 10 years - as I'm sure have most of yours. But hearing this on the radio this morning really made me want to find somebody to hit.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:18 AM on October 28, 2010 [26 favorites]


Troubling, but not surprising. But I'm not sure the logic behind the author's conclusion is all that sound, as it seems to be based on the initial premise in the following sentence in the article: "But if it's upheld, it requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally."

I read the statute back when it was passed and I am looking at it now, and I don't see how the author of the article arrived at that conclusion. What part of the statute (or combination of parts) does Laura Sullivan believe requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally?
posted by The World Famous at 9:19 AM on October 28, 2010


This is news? Rachel Maddow was reporting on this back in August. Here are the two segments she did talking about exactly this issue (and related issues of conflict of interest for Jan Brewer) from 8-12 and 8-13 [relevant content starts around 6m mark].

I mean, I'm glad it's getting more coverage, but why did it take 10 weeks for other outlets to pick it up?
posted by hippybear at 9:19 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Y'know, I keep coming back to the old chestnut that we get the government we deserve.
posted by klangklangston at 9:19 AM on October 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


The last few years have seen dozens of stories about cases in which lobbyists more or less write the bills which our representatives (state/national) then vote on. This becomes more and more blatant as the years go by. So does the extent to which lobbyists hardly even try to cover up the extent to which their work is basically bribery.

And when you think of "lobbyists," you are being a little kind-hearted if you picture hard-working low-paid do-gooders lobbying for equal rights for the disabled. Lobbyists are more likely to be well-paid lackeys for the money-hungry "conservatives."

A roomful of paunchy balding white men is usually up to no good.
posted by kozad at 9:21 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, "Yeah, that's the way it's set up. It's a public-private partnership.

That is the most jaw-droppingly Orwellian statement from a (potentially) public official I've read in a long time.
posted by Adam_S at 9:23 AM on October 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


Fuck. Shocked, but not surprised.

I am surprised though to see NPR doing this kind of old-fashioned hard-hitting investigative journalism that risks offending sponsors. Good on you NPR!

Thanks for posting this.
posted by serazin at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have plenty of compassion for citizens who live along the border and feel threatened by all the crime and human anguish going on around them and want to protect themselves from those things with a stronger border and tougher laws. I don't agree with them, but as a point of view, I get it.
I suppose I get wanting to make a lot of money too. But seems a lot like slavery or human trafficking.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:26 AM on October 28, 2010


Rachel Maddow was reporting on this back in August.

I hadn't heard this and don't watch Rachel Maddow. But good for her. I'm sure if she was covering it that is part of what put the pressure on a mainstream news source to do the elaborate research for this piece.
posted by serazin at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2010


Ah, memories of the private company that ran juvenile detention centers in Pennsylvania and paid off judges to find defendants "guilty," so as to fill up their facilities in a 'kids-for-cash' scheme.

Previous FPP: Here Come 'Da Judge.
posted by ericb at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


The utterly sad thing is that this sort of behind-the-scenes reporting is completely lost on the general public. All they hear is white noise when you try to illuminate these sorts of dealings. They simply tune-out anything that isn't as bog-simple as "cut taxes" or "jail the illegals".
posted by Thorzdad at 9:29 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, "Yeah, that's the way it's set up. It's a public-private partnership.

That's not "the way it's set up." It's incompetent legislators choosing to abdicate responsibility and control because they can't be arsed to do the job they were elected to do. Every time a legislator uses model legislation it should be introduced as The [Lobbying Organization] Act. In this case it should have been called The Corrections Corporation of America Act.

It would also be a good idea to dock legislators' pay if they introduce or co-sponsor a bill written by a special interest group. If they aren't going to do their job, why should we pay them for it?

And don't forget the rest of that quote: "We believe both sides, businesses and lawmakers should be at the same table, together."

Both sides?! In an interview with NPR he didn't even pay lip service to the possibility of public interest or individuals being represented in the legislative process. Naked plutocracy.
posted by jedicus at 9:32 AM on October 28, 2010 [28 favorites]


Oh, and the name of every person, elected or otherwise, who authors a bill or an amendment should have their name attached. Really the whole legislative process needs to be more like a revision control system or Wikipedia, with full change logs and attribution. Right now we only see, at best, the legislators who introduce bills and amendments. We need to see who actually writes the stuff, be it a legislator, staffer, or lobbyist.
posted by jedicus at 9:34 AM on October 28, 2010 [21 favorites]


"Arizona's Immigration Bill Was Drafted By Private Prison Companies"

That's not what the article says. If you're looking for a simplified headline, the article provides one for you: "Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law", but it looks like they didn't write what you wrote, because that seems not to have been what happened.
posted by Jahaza at 9:35 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The last few years have seen dozens of stories about cases in which lobbyists more or less write the bills which our representatives (state/national) then vote on. This becomes more and more blatant as the years go by. So does the extent to which lobbyists hardly even try to cover up the extent to which their work is basically bribery."

I will say that organizations that we, broadly, support also do this. For example, Equality California regularly writes legislation expanding LGBT rights, then presents it to sympathetic legislators and openly sponsors it.
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Both sides?! In an interview with NPR he didn't even pay lip service to the possibility of public interest or individuals being represented in the legislative process. Naked plutocracy.

The public interest was represented, that's the legislators jobs. It may have been represented badly, but it was represented.
posted by Jahaza at 9:36 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


They should nationalize the prisons. What are the opposition ads going to look like?

"First it was your bank. Then they came for your healthcare. Now, Big Government is trying to take over your... um, your imprisonment."

Cleetus McGee: "I been in this jail 30 years man and boy, and ain't no govmint fatcats gonna push me around. That's what shady conglomerates is for!"

*eagle squark*

"Call Washington today, and tell them that they'll never take your freedom, excepting that they subsequently transfer that freedom into custody of a for-profit corporation. PaidforbyAmericansWhoLikeFreedomABunchPAC "
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:39 AM on October 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


stop taking ideas from my paranoid nightmares america.
posted by The Whelk at 9:41 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


[["Arizona's Immigration Bill Was Drafted By Private Prison Companies"]]

That's not what the article says.


"According to Corrections Corporation of America reports... the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. ... Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona's immigration law."
posted by Joe Beese at 9:42 AM on October 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


Every year, Russell Pearce pushes a new piece of legislation aimed at illegal immigrants. It's extremely effective for him; he gets a ton of press and he also is able to show his base that he's cracking down on immigration. It's sad, really, since we have a lot of other real problems in this state that need solving. But it gets him the sound bites, and the immigrants, not being in a position to push back, are an easy punching bag for him.

Private prisons have also been a major growth industry here as well. If you drive through Florence, you'll see plenty of them. They're also scattered in small communities around the state. We can't fund education adequately here, but we can build prisons with the best of them. When you take Pearce + private prisons, SB1070 was a match made in heaven.

The private prisons have also been in the news a bit lately because of the escapees from the Kingman prison. This was a private prison, and a subsequent audit found rather glaring problems. Since then, Jan Brewer (the "accidental governor," so nicknamed because she rose to the post after Janet Napolitano was picked to run Homeland Security) has been taking some heat in the campaign about her ties to the private prison industry. But she's leading in the polls. Why? Because she signed SB1070. The same bill that would have given a huge gift to the same industry her campaign advisors are tied to. How any of us in this state can claim to be sane anymore, I just don't know.
posted by azpenguin at 9:43 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with Jahaza here. I think it's enough to find the law despicable instead of crafting conspiracies. In fact, that's a huge red herring and waste of time if we want to convince other people that this legislation is a bad idea. First of all, if they think it's a good idea, they aren't going to care whose idea it was.

Second, I see nothing in the article to support the title of this post or the title of the article itself! What are the data point here? First of all, we have some guys trying to sell a prison for illegal immigrants based on an expectation of this law passing. That's reasonable, based on the second data point: Russell Pearce talking about it at ALEC. This prison corporation, Corrections Corporation of America, was at that meeting, but we see no indication that they played a larger role in getting it drafted than ExxonMobil. So where is the connection, here?

The article's tone is also over the top, but it can be easy to miss if you share the ideology of the writer. First of all, ALEC is described as "a secretive group," which makes it sound so sinister, but it doesn't sound very secretive to me. What does that mean, they don't invite press to their meetings? Second of all, the author cites all these demons of the left as members: Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Tobacco, oil and guns, oh my! I wonder if there were any non-evil organizations that attended ALEC.

I still hate this law, but this article is super weak and isn't going to change anyone's mind about anything. I dunno, maybe I am missing something here, so feel free to point it out.
posted by Edgewise at 9:44 AM on October 28, 2010


"According to Corrections Corporation of America reports... the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. ... Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona's immigration law."

"The group" is not Corrections Corporation of America, it's the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

"Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.

"The 50 or so people in the room included officials of the Corrections Corporation of America, according to two sources who were there."

So yes, they were part of the group that drafted the law, but your elided version of the story and the original front page post are both give the incorrect impression that the company wrote the bill.
posted by Jahaza at 9:48 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait until these CCA clowns figure out that the whole FEMA detention camp rumor could be a growth industry for them. Look for amazing synergy opportunities in joint projects with Blackwater. Not to mention a whole new way of imagining "public-private partnerships."

You turn your back on legal values that go back at least to the Magna Carta in order to make a buck and you pretty much owe it to yourself to go all the way.
posted by felix betachat at 9:56 AM on October 28, 2010


this is utterly stupid - i thought they would want to deport illegal aliens, not imprison them
posted by pyramid termite at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Privatizing the prison system was not a very good idea America.

But we need to run the government more like a business!

(Never mind that the solution is always keep the managers and fire the workers. If we could just figure out a way to fire citizens, we'd be on easy street.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2010


Back on August 13, Rachel Maddow gave credit to Morgan Loew, the KPHO-TV reporter who broke the story.
posted by Carol Anne at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


this is utterly stupid - i thought they would want to deport illegal aliens, not imprison them

Where's the money in that? Free market!
posted by ryoshu at 9:59 AM on October 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I used to work for a legislator. Do you guys know what exactly a "lobbyist" is and what exactly it is they do?

They, ah, do this. That's their job. There are about ten or eleven for every person in Washington, DC. They exist for the purpose of being paid by entities interested in their success to promote passing legislation that enables said success. It's a feature, not a bug.

This is awful, but doesn't surprise me in the least. I watched awful people use awful moeny to try and convince my boss that an awful thing wasn't awful on a daily basis. The part you should be shocked about isn't this particular piece of legislation; it is that this is the process for roughly everything that actually passes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:00 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is deplorable on so many levels. Corrections Corporation of America is disgusting. So is Pearce and this ALEC group.
posted by Skygazer at 10:01 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I heard this on my commute in this morning and couldn't stop yelling OH, FUCK YOU at the radio.
posted by Mick at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


It takes a special kind of asshole to want this: "What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants." That's your business plan?
posted by theredpen at 10:11 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem is not that some private group drafted a model bill and gave it to some legislators. This happens all the time on various issues. The problem is the incredible amount of money flowing between hands at the same time, along with the expectation that fat contracts will await those legislators that play along once they leave "public service."

Really, this is the same thing that has been going on for decades at the federal level in the military and agricultural areas.
posted by thewittyname at 10:14 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the link:

Nothing about this is illegal.

Really?
posted by omegar at 10:23 AM on October 28, 2010


~Privatizing the prison system was not a very good idea America.

~But we need to run the government more like a business!
(Never mind that the solution is always keep the managers and fire the workers. If we could just figure out a way to fire citizens, we'd be on easy street.)


What do you think the prisons are for?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have plenty of compassion for citizens who live along the border and feel threatened by all the crime and human anguish going on around them and want to protect themselves from those things with a stronger border and tougher laws.

Too bad they don't take a moment to consider that a lot of the crime and human anguish that surrounds them is caused by the last major effort the prisons put themselves behind, AKA the 'War on Drugs'. And the whole 'illegal immigration' furor is funded by the same industries that want to make sure that migrant workers both a) stay very illegal and b) stay very present, so that the agricultural industry can continue to benefit from their vastly cheaper than legal labor.

Then the prison industry can make money on them afterward, while maintaining the threat of legal retribution so they don't try and unionize or effect real social change through legitimate channels. Granting clemency or worker's visas would completely undercut that entire exploitative economy, which is not what the legislator's puppetmasters want in the slightest.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:30 AM on October 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Are there no work houses?
posted by wuwei at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2010


Well, that is the problem with a privatized prison system, isn't it? Once you link profit as a motive to incarceration, you bring in the corporate "if you're not growing you're dying" mindset into an area of life which should be about eliminating its own need. Ideally, we'd work toward a society in which people go about their lives without committing crimes which require imprisonment. But as soon as you have private prisons, you create a society in which prisoners are product, and you have to keep making more.
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2010 [33 favorites]


It would also be a good idea to dock legislators' pay if they introduce or co-sponsor a bill written by a special interest group.

I support the spirit of this idea, but you know as well as I do that this would be a hell of a thing to police. A copy and paste here, a few words changed there, and who knows where the language came from? I suppose we could force legislation to be written with software that tracks the source of all the text. But legislators might just have an intern re-type the stuff.

I think the only solution is greater citizen involvement in government, though that is stymied by the bread and circuses.
posted by exogenous at 10:36 AM on October 28, 2010


hippybear: I mean, I'm glad it's getting more coverage, but why did it take 10 weeks for other outlets to pick it up?

From the linked article: NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records.

I heard this piece this morning. The way it's presented, Sen. Russell Pearce thought up the bill, brought it before ALEC (a group of legislators who meet in D.C., and big corporations that pay to be part of the party), where the group "discussed and debated language," including the title of the bill ("Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act"), which was carried forward to Arizona, mostly as written by ALEC, including the title.

Furthermore, there were a flood of co-sponsors of the bill, "Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group" (from the article). And to make the ugly bedfellows even uglier:
Brewer has her own connections to private prison companies. State lobbying records show two of her top advisers — her spokesman Paul Senseman and her campaign manager Chuck Coughlin — are former lobbyists for private prison companies.
What was passed is not exactly what was originally proposed. As outlined in Wikipedia, the fine was lowered from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $100, and changes incarceration limits for first-time offenders from 6 months to 20 days. Still ugly, but significantly less so.

Ray of hope from this pit of darkness: SB 1070 backlash spurs Hispanics to join Democrats. I hope the voter turn-out reflects this.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:38 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


where the group "discussed and debated language," including the title of the bill ("Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act")

My brain scrambled the words when I was trying to figure out the acronym for that bill, and my first thought was 'SALSA? Wow, THAT'S sure not obviously racist enough.'
posted by FatherDagon at 10:41 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Foreboding end quote from Wayne Calabrese, president of The Geo Group:
"I can only believe the opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what's happening. Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained and that for me, at least I think, there's going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do."
Also, this article is part 1 of a 2 part report on NPR. The second part will be broadcast and go online tomorrow.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:42 AM on October 28, 2010


It's no SALSA, but SOLESNA can sound pretty menacing (or like a foot medication).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:43 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with XQUZYPHYR - this is no more shocking than how the healthcare legislation ended up so bland and ineffective. Did you think Arizona actually passed this because they give a shit about illegal immigration? It's a Republican state; follow the profit motive...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:53 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is absolutely sickening. Others have said it's not surprising, but it was shocking to me to read this. I had no idea how bad things were.

I get the economic rationale for privatization in most circumstances. In the case of things like phone companies, postal services, etc., I can even see plenty of good arguments in support of privatization. But this is frankly ridiculous--and something that I find it hard to believe that even the most ardent free-marketer could support in good conscience. What we have here are corporations that are set up to sell their services to only one client--the government. The government in this case is a monopsony buyer. Long story short, a monopsony buyer can behave just like a monopsony seller--essentially screwing the counterpart in the transaction. Why a corporation would set itself up to be in this position is hard to comprehend... unless they didn't see the government as their buyer, but as their business partner. That is, unless they believed that the government would be corrupt in their favor, or that they could pull strings to make the government corrupt in their favor. That's clearly what's going on here.

But the point is this: there is no good reason for corporations who, by the very nature of their business, only sell to the government, to exist. This goes for military contractors and weapons manufacturers as well. Since no private citizen or other corporation is going to buy a prison, or a mercenary army, or an F-16, their only purpose is to suckle at the teat of government. And because government isn't constrained by the usual economic laws that favor efficiency (and kill out excess or useless products), and, in fact, can write laws that run counter to those economic laws, it's easy for things to get out of hand. For these companies, the only business strategy for growth is to grow the government. And it works because its easy to sell the government shit it doesn't need, especially when corruption is everywhere (lobbyists going to work for Halliburton, Cheney fucking owning Halliburton, etc.). Essentially these corporations are cancers on the government, and in many cases, they've metastasized so fully that they basically are the government itself--again, the revolving K-street/Capitol Hill door.

What they've done with the military complex, the prison industrial complex is now doing. We spend probably 5-10x the amount we 'need' on defense. And it's easy to just not care, because the 350th F-16 sitting in a hangar gathering dust doesn't really matter. It's a little less easy not to care when the government/military parasite/host complex decides to go to war just to increase the parasite's profits, but for most Americans, hey, let's go fight. USA! USA! USA!

And the prison-industrial complex is using those USA! USA! USA! "patriots" to start on the same expansion path. Hippie potheads and illegal immigrants are easy to get the 'patriot' crowd to hate, to demand to be thrown in jail. But guess what? When they've jailed all the druggies and illegals, they'll find someone else to target. How else can their business/tumor grow? The war in Afghanistan wasn't enough, so the military/industrial complex made sure we went into Iraq too. Throwing all the illegals in jail won't be enough either--nothing will be, when growth and more profits is the only goal. What's next? Who knows--maybe we'll see a push to reinstate anti-sodomy laws (with this Supreme Court, I doubt it would be that hard to uphold). In this economy, debotrs prisons would be their ultimate dream, and you can bet some of these company's CEO's lay in bed at night just dreaming about being able to jail people for debt. Or political dissent--being able to arrest protesters in masse and hold them sans habeas corpus is probably another wet dream of these leeches.

The bottom line--the military industrial complex makes money by ruining/ending the lives of foreign people living thousands of miles away, and they'll stop at nothing to make sure that keeps happening under the aegis of your government. The prison industrial complex makes money by ruining/ending lives of all sorts of Americans, and they'll stop at nothing to make sure that, too, keeps happening under the aegis of your government.
posted by notswedish at 10:55 AM on October 28, 2010 [37 favorites]


What do you think the prisons are for?

Maybe I was a little too subtle. :)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:59 AM on October 28, 2010


"seems a lot like slavery or human trafficking" -- it's starting to remind me of a book I read last summer: Slavery By Another Name - about the defacto slavery through the "legal" system from the end of Reconstruction all the way until WWII. (Dense reading, but fascinating/horrifying.)
posted by epersonae at 11:12 AM on October 28, 2010


notswedish:
Exactly, we spend more money now than we did during WWII and our military is a fraction of the size. Each aircraft costs more per unit-- this is the so-called defense death spiral I mentioned yesterday.
posted by wuwei at 11:14 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I support the spirit of this idea, but you know as well as I do that this would be a hell of a thing to police.

Whistleblowing incentives would be one way. You mention having an intern re-type it. Well, if the intern can make a few hundred grand by blowing the whistle...I know which one I would choose.

Since no private citizen or other corporation is going to buy a prison, or a mercenary army, or an F-16

Other governments buy F-16s, though. But US defense spending is so high compared to the rest of the world (especially spending on new hardware) that your argument probably still holds.
posted by jedicus at 11:17 AM on October 28, 2010


The public interest was represented, that's the legislators jobs. It may have been represented badly, but it was represented.

I disagree. He described it as 'lawmakers.' In other words, the two sides were the government and businesses. The government represents the public, but it is not the same as the public, and it has its own interests separate from the public. Those interests include receiving campaign donations and getting reelected. Those were the interests represented at that meeting, not the public's.
posted by jedicus at 11:44 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The prison cannot fail to produce delinquents. It does so by the very type of existence that it imposes on the inmates... it is to create an unnatural, useless, and dangerous existence... The prison also produces delinquents by imposing violent constrains on its inmates; it is supposed to apply the law, and to teach respect for it; but all its functioning operates in the form of an abuse of power." --M. Foucault, Discipline & Punish
posted by .kobayashi. at 11:46 AM on October 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


This becomes more and more blatant as the years go by. So does the extent to which lobbyists hardly even try to cover up the extent to which their work is basically bribery.

There is no such thing as bribery. Money is speech, when I give a politician money and he does something for me he was just convinced by the clear message of my speech: I really want that bill passed, here is a quantifiable measure of how much I believe in it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:58 AM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised at the number of people (oops...ad hominen coming up) on this thread who say ho-hum, so what, business as usual.

Well, I have to live in this fucking country every day, that's what the big deal is. I don't care if this has been going on since my great-grandmother was learning to talk, it still pisses me off.

"Oh, this is old news." That's supposed to console me how, exactly?

The status quo gets worse every day we allow it to metastasize.
posted by kozad at 12:03 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The law is being challenged in the courts. But if it's upheld, it requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally."
Stopped reading the article here because of a rage paroxysm. This is the kind of slap-dash, regurgitative reporting that only serves to contribute to divisiveness over such issues. This is such a despicably misleading statement. Regardless of how you feel about the law, shitty reporting serves nobody in this public debate. "FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c)" is quite a bit different than "requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally." That's nowhere in the law.
posted by Room 101 at 12:08 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not finding verification immediately, but I don't think it's really a secret that ICE will detail those suspected of being in the country illegally while their status is investigated. It's a matter of containing a flight risk, I'm sure. And since there is no authority by state or local law enforcement to enact deportation, it's only natural that anyone caught without documentation would be turned over to ICE at some point, probably sooner rather than later.

If I find any links while I'm digging around, I'll post 'em.
posted by hippybear at 12:18 PM on October 28, 2010


grrrr. "...that ICE will detain those suspected..."

They might detail them, too. It's always nice to have a thorough cleaning.
posted by hippybear at 12:19 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The company mentioned in the article/broadcast:
Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) -- "the nation’s leading provider of correctional solutions to federal, state and local government" since 1983.
posted by ericb at 12:20 PM on October 28, 2010


Corrections Corporation of America

June 19, 2008: Locked and Loaded -- "CCA, the private jailer and one of Nashville’s richest companies, is facing heightened scrutiny after a year of particularly heinous controversies."
posted by ericb at 12:25 PM on October 28, 2010


Room 101, do they wait with them on the side of the road while they "verify" the person's status with the federal government?
posted by waitingtoderail at 12:25 PM on October 28, 2010


June 1, 2000: US: America's Private Gulag.
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2010


Questions arise on jailing SB 1070 suspects

Apparently the entire way the enforcement of this law would be carried out has yet to be clarified.

But once determined to be illegal, ICE does detain people, often entire families. According to Wikipedia, they have over 200 official locations in which they detain people awaiting processing, and nearly that amount again in undocumented sites.
posted by hippybear at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2010


Corrections Corporation Executives Put Ten Bucks Each Minimum in the Wallets for Every Inmate.
"John Ferguson, Chairman of Corrections Corporation of America earns twenty bucks from every inmate in his charge as does Damon Hininger. Three other executives listed earn between twelve and thirteen bucks per inmate. Several executives do not have their compensation listed in the most recent 10k. Currently there are 87,000 of inmates incarcerated in their facilities. That is reason enough to want to incarcerate the up to twenty million illegal immigrants that are in our country. When a poor person cashes a welfare check he or she is said to be on the dole but when a rich company gets government checks it is just good business. Better business is the ability to write the legislation that gets voted on, approved and signed by the Governor who accepts campaign contributions from the same company that wrote the legislation."
Ocotber 26, 2010: Corrections Corporation of America: 52-Week High Recently Eclipsed.
posted by ericb at 12:32 PM on October 28, 2010


notswedish: "But the point is this: there is no good reason for corporations who, by the very nature of their business, only sell to the government, to exist."

I don't know - socialism for the rich?
posted by sneebler at 12:34 PM on October 28, 2010


(Never mind that the solution is always keep the managers and fire the workers. If we could just figure out a way to fire citizens, we'd be on easy street.)

Do you know who else fired citizens?

/hamburger
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:35 PM on October 28, 2010


But once determined to be illegal, ICE does detain people, often entire families.

Surely you can see the difference between ICE - not the police - detaining someone once they have determined that person to be an illegal immigrant and the article's false statement that the statute "requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally."

Based on my own reading of the statute, I feel confident saying that the assertion that it "requires police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof they entered the country legally" is an outrageous lie. If you can point me to some provision in the statute that you think requires the police to lock up anyone they stop who cannot show proof that they entered the U.S. legally, I would be happy to consider it and see whether I agree with you.
posted by The World Famous at 12:41 PM on October 28, 2010


If you'd read the link in the same comment I made which you quote from, you'd find an article which talks specifically about how there is confusion about the process which officers are supposed to use while enforcing SB 1070.

I don't think there's anything to agree with me about, as I haven't been making any solid claims.
posted by hippybear at 12:51 PM on October 28, 2010


Sorry - I'm not trying to argue with you hippybear. Sorry if it came across that way.
posted by The World Famous at 12:55 PM on October 28, 2010


This is not for the people, by the people.

The US is becoming a haven for corporations...people, not so much.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:17 PM on October 28, 2010


notswedish: "But the point is this: there is no good reason for corporations who, by the very nature of their business, only sell to the government, to exist."

I don't know - socialism for the rich?


Please look of socialism in a dictionary, and make sure it isn't a fox news dictionary.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:18 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, come now. There will always been room for people in the United States of Corporate America. They have to have some kind of fodder to grind into digits in their bank accounts...
posted by hippybear at 1:19 PM on October 28, 2010


hal_c_on: socialism for the rich

That's exactly what it is. These people make all their money charging the government money for a job the government could and should do by itself, and then turn around and rail against welfare, food stamps, public healthcare options...

it's just sickening.
posted by notswedish at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm forming a lobby. No, not to change congress, but to get New Zealand to accept more political refugees from the Unites States.

Check, please.
posted by notion at 1:46 PM on October 28, 2010


This is terrible, and all, but the enactment of the law was terrible too. To learn that it's the result of corruption and avarice, rather than government-enforced racism seems somehow less bad to me. I mean the privatisation of prisons and the associated boom in incarceration, instances of bribed judges etcetera is already horrific. The influence private corporations hold over western governments through campaign contributions is already horrific. It's like those horrors leaking into legislation via a corrupt government is better less terrible than evidence of a new independent racism-in-government horror... if you follow me.
posted by pompomtom at 1:56 PM on October 28, 2010


But the point is this: there is no good reason for corporations who, by the very nature of their business, only sell to the government, to exist...Since no private citizen or other corporation is going to buy a prison, or a mercenary army, or an F-16

A private company may not need a prison, but they might need a secure facility, and the technology used to create one can be re-purposed to create the other. General Dynamics also makes Gulfstream jets, and again, some of the technology used to make an F-16 can be re-purposed for civilian use. I question just how many independent companies actually exist that manage not to interact with the civilian market in some way.

These people make all their money charging the government money for a job the government could and should do by itself

I'm not sure that's as clear a given as you make it out to be. Maybe in an ideal world, the best and brightest would be willing to give up better money in the private sector, to work as government researchers, but in today's world, political realities limit the salaries we pay people who work directly for the government. The same political realities make it much more palatable to pay a contractor so that he can hire the best and brightest at the price they want to work for. I'm curious how they divided work at NASA during the space race, for example.
posted by nomisxid at 2:07 PM on October 28, 2010


It would also be a good idea to dock legislators' pay if they introduce or co-sponsor a bill written by a special interest group. If they aren't going to do their job, why should we pay them for it?

This assumes that they are in the job for the pay. Those who don't enter the arena already rich tend to get their reward on the back end when they retire. Or they view power as their real reward.

there is no good reason for corporations who, by the very nature of their business, only sell to the government, to exist. This goes for military contractors and weapons manufacturers as well.

Not clear if you are arguing against military expenditure and arms manufacture in general or just the fact that it is done by private enterprise. If the latter, then you have to consider if the system, awful as is, would improve if all arms development and manufacturing were done by the government.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:42 PM on October 28, 2010


Or - mostly what nomisxid said.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:43 PM on October 28, 2010


WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES


A little perplexed about how you do this. What creates the suspicion? Not speaking English well enough? Hispanic looking? Nervousness? Weighed down by anchor babies? It seems like you have to suspect everyone or no one if you want to get around civil rights issues. If the latter, well, the bill is useless (and I would be okay with that approach). If the former, well, there's a lot of lockin' up to do while you chase down every perp's immigrant status. Plenty good money to be made.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:47 PM on October 28, 2010


A private company may not need a prison, but they might need a secure facility, and the technology used to create one can be re-purposed to create the other. General Dynamics also makes Gulfstream jets, and again, some of the technology used to make an F-16 can be re-purposed for civilian use. I question just how many independent companies actually exist that manage not to interact with the civilian market in some way.

Not clear if you are arguing against military expenditure and arms manufacture in general or just the fact that it is done by private enterprise. If the latter, then you have to consider if the system, awful as is, would improve if all arms development and manufacturing were done by the government.

nomisxid and IndigoJones, you both make valid points, and I do now see that this issue is more nuanced than I presented it. Of course there are certain times when the government should contract with the private sector, and use its expertise and specialization to achieve a legitimate end at a lower cost. And yes, if the corporation is selling to other non government entities, then the problems I presented don't necessarily exist. Maybe there is no industry for which the government really is the only true buyer, since for any project to succeed, talent must be found, and maybe it's a good idea to pay expert talent-finders to do that, for example.

But this doesn't change the larger point in any way. Corporations are set up to maximize profits (without any consideration of ethics), and that's not necessarily a bad thing if the government does its job, namely, if it regulates the economy such that profit-maximizing incentives fall roughly in line with good morals and social policy. That's why unions are protected by law, child labor is illegal, the FDA exists, etc. And that's why the intersection between government and corporations is so dangerous, and when we see the two of them joined at the hip to such an extent, it should set off alarm bells. Especially for the largest corporations, who have already succeeded in the competitive market and don't really need the government to protect them from anything, if things are working correctly, the government should be keeping them in check, should be preventing them from doing what they want, not enabling it. The two institutions--big government and big corporations--should be on opposite sides of most issues, if things are functioning correctly. When they are in cahoots to the extent that we see here, it's generally because the corporate interests have gained too much power over the government (not to be confused with the people in the government, who oftentimes let this happen for personal gain), at the expense of 'morals and good social policy.'
posted by notswedish at 3:02 PM on October 28, 2010


Here are some bullet points on immigrant detention:
* Immigrants can be detained for months or years without any form of meaningful individualized review of whether their detention is necessary.

*The vast majority of people in immigration detention - 84 percent - are unable to obtain the legal assistance necessary to present viable claims in an adversarial and complex court process.

*The US contracts with approximately 350 state and county criminal jails to house approximately 67% of all immigrants in detention.

* Detention facilities are required to comply with ICE detention standards, however, these standards are not legally binding, and oversight and accountability for abuse or neglect in detention is almost nonexistent, leading to practices in violation of international standards. Immigrants are often put in excessive restraints, including handcuffs, belly chains and leg restraints, and are detained alongside individuals incarcerated for criminal offenses.

* Individuals in detention find it very difficult to get timely - and at times any - treatment for their medical needs. 74 people have died while in immigration detention over the past five years.
The solutions are obvious. They will happen when we see what's going on and choose to believe that we can fix things.
posted by aniola at 3:45 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


But this doesn't change the larger point in any way. Corporations are set up to maximize profits (without any consideration of ethics), and that's not necessarily a bad thing if the government does its job, namely, if it regulates the economy such that profit-maximizing incentives fall roughly in line with good morals and social policy. That's why unions are protected by law, child labor is illegal, the FDA exists, etc. And that's why the intersection between government and corporations is so dangerous, and when we see the two of them joined at the hip to such an extent, it should set off alarm bells. Especially for the largest corporations, who have already succeeded in the competitive market and don't really need the government to protect them from anything, if things are working correctly, the government should be keeping them in check, should be preventing them from doing what they want, not enabling it. The two institutions--big government and big corporations--should be on opposite sides of most issues, if things are functioning correctly. When they are in cahoots to the extent that we see here, it's generally because the corporate interests have gained too much power over the government (not to be confused with the people in the government, who oftentimes let this happen for personal gain), at the expense of 'morals and good social policy.'<>

Well said. There's a name for that system you're talking about. It's called capitalism. It would be nice if we went back to it.

posted by GrooveJedi at 3:53 PM on October 28, 2010


socialism for the rich

That's exactly what it is. These people make all their money charging the government money for a job the government could and should do by itself, and then turn around and rail against welfare, food stamps, public healthcare options...


And

Well said. There's a name for that system you're talking about. It's called capitalism. It would be nice if we went back to it.

Can everyone in the world please stop using the words "capitalism" and "socialism?" We've strayed so far from what the terms actually mean and created so many nebulous alternative meanings for them that I feel like I live in Bizarro World. It is literally impossible to have a coherent political discussion the moment someone starts using those terms.
posted by The World Famous at 4:12 PM on October 28, 2010


ALEC is evil. Always has been.

Never heard of them? That's how they like it.

Founded by Paul Weyrich.

Sourcewatch on ALEC.

ALECwatch

The Secret World of ALEC

posted by warbaby at 4:25 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a shame that ALECwatch website doesn't appear to have been updated for nearly a decade. I suspect there is a lot more content that could be housed there.
posted by hippybear at 4:32 PM on October 28, 2010


Glad I'm not the only one who completely freaked out and started yelling at the radio when I heard the story this morning. This one really got to me.
posted by alpinist at 5:46 PM on October 28, 2010


Capitalism will not be satisfied until it is indistinguishable from the state.

And it fucking sucks.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:11 PM on October 28, 2010


I'm forming a lobby. No, not to change congress, but to get New Zealand to accept more political refugees from the Unites States.

You're too late. We've already started down this road ourselves.

Labour's Lianne Dalziel said deprivation of liberty was a core function of the state and should never be contracted out.

posted by WhackyparseThis at 1:12 AM on October 29, 2010


Labour's Lianne Dalziel said deprivation of liberty was a core function of the state and should never be contracted out.

I agree with this. The power to incarcerate is fearsome power to be wielded with great trepidation. Contracting it out is contrary to the seriousness of the act of taking away someones autonomy. And we've seen in Iraq what happens when you contract out serious responsibilities.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:07 AM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, those "illegals" came here to work, didn't they? They just didn't know they'd be working for CCA.
Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call "highly skilled positions." At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.
Source.
posted by malocchio at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Labour's Lianne Dalziel said deprivation of liberty was a core function of the state and should never be contracted out.

The unspoken elements of privatizing incarceration make's my blood run cold. And that statement above articulates why it feels so wrong. It would seem the next step in this slow motion slow boil move towards plutocratic rule and capitalist tyranny would be privatizing executions, and I would bet serious money this ALEC group and CCA has already begun exploring that "money-maker" as well.

And private efficiency being what it is, I would think what would come next is multiple executions/concentration camps of a sort....

And THAT is what Jefferson was talking about with 2nd ammendment solutions. (Not to sound tough I wouldn't know one end of a gun from another.)

/shudder
posted by Skygazer at 8:59 AM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


From this link:
I felt we also needed some basic protections for patients and families to ensure that it’s kept out of the hands of politicians, their cronies who can lobby them and these so-called ‘experts,’” Novack said.
Another irony-deaf winger.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:23 AM on October 29, 2010


Never heard of them? That's how they like it.

How odd then that they have a web site.
posted by Jahaza at 7:52 PM on October 29, 2010


Maybe there is no industry for which the government really is the only true buyer, since for any project to succeed, talent must be found, and maybe it's a good idea to pay expert talent-finders to do that, for example.

Interestingly, the Romans had a proto multi-owner corporation entity called the societas publicanorum which was permitted to deal only with the state. Mostly the public works projects.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:51 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


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