Did the Private Prison Lobby Kill Immigration Reform?

via Colorlines by Aura BogadoICE Holds Immigrants At Adelanto Detention Facility

President Obama is poised to make a sweeping decision on immigration soon. Although details of another executive action on immigration are still unclear, it’s likely to benefit millions of people. But not all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will be protected from deportation. The president has made clear that because Congress hasn’t moved forward on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), he must.

The Senate passed a CIR bill last year. Despite excitement, however, it never made it through the House—which just recently passed two anti-immigration bills, which will also not move forward. Theories abound as to why CIR never made it through the Senate. Among those is the idea that private prison lobbyists killed the reform.

I talked to Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, the executive director of Enlace, which is the convening organization of the Prison Divestment Campaign. He recently published an article in AlterNet outlining how the private prison lobby, handled by the GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), played a big hand in CIR.  Continue reading

National Youth Gathering to End the For-Profit Prison Industry

Youth Retreat to End Private PrisonsENLACE-POSTER_outline_campaign11x85

We are building a powerful movement for a prison-free, immigrant-friendly world, and we need your help.

Every year more and more low income and youth of color are pushed out of school and into cages. The criminal and immigration systems are destroying the lives of youth by separating families and destroying our communities. 

This August, youth from around the country are coming together in Miami to take a stand. The very schools that youth of color attend are also financing the expansion of the prison industrial complex. When a student or a member of our community is detained, deported, or incarcerated,  these schools reap profits!

We need your help to bring everyone together! 
Tax dollars, pension funds, and university endowment funds are being invested in the racist prison industry. This money is used by private prison companies like CCA and GEO to build new prisons and lobby politicians to support laws that increase incarceration. Campaigns led by youth across the country are demanding schools divest from prisons and invest in humanity. We need you to invest in these students, support education not incarceration. Donate now to make this national convening possible.

With your support, we will be able to subsidize travel costs for 40 youth participants, provide lodging, print materials, and provide 3 days of meals. The youth retreat is being organized by youth for youth. All donations will go directly to cover youth retreat costs. 

We need you to stand by youth of color and our communities. Invest in humanity! 

Education Not Incarceration!

Free undocumented immigrants from incarceration: Stop the corporate prison industry’s influence on politics

How the For-Profit Corporate Prison Lobby Killed Immigration Reform

To free undocumented immigrants from the threat of incarceration, the focus has to be on reducing the corporate prison industry’s influence on Congress.

Most national leaders are telling their constituencies that bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform is not a possibility this year. Acts of civil disobedience and militant, grassroots efforts to stop deportations are spreading across the country. Missing in the strategy is the power of the for-profit corporate prison industry. To win, the immigration reform movement has to weaken the private prison corporate lobby.

The immigrant rights movement made major headway in the fight for human rights and equal justice in 2013. Worker centers and several key unions stepped up their efforts by organizing popular support to pressure Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE and local sheriffs to free detained immigrants. The movement also mobilized constituents to pressure reluctant Congressmen to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform, CIR. More people than ever in the social justice and economic justice movements began to see that immigration policy is the nation’s labor policy. When 2013 began, a majority of Americans opposed legal status for undocumented immigrants. But by the fall of 2013, a growing majority switched to favoring a path to citizenship for the same people. While persuading the hearts and minds of the American majority is progress, there’s less and less correlation between what Americans want and what Congress does. The Dream Act had overwhelming support, and, despite this support, died in the US in 2010. Continue reading

Fast and Rally at Northwest Detention Center

For immediate release:

Contact: Maru Mora Villalpando (206) 251-6658 | Jolinda Stephens (614) 915-4079

Fathers’ Day Fast and Rally at Northwest Detention Center

WHAT: Rally and Report from the Morning’s People’s Movement Assembly

WHEN: Saturday, June 14, 1 pm

WHERE; Northwest Detention Center, Tacoma, WA

WHO:  Hunger strike leaders, families of those detained in the immigration prison and migration justice groups from around the Pacific Northwest

HIGHLIGHTS: Details of the actions plans developed by local groups in collaboration with detention and migration justice groups in the U. S., Canada, Spain and England; Fathers Day Fast announced.

About 100 families separated by the deportation machine and groups working to bring justice to the immigration system will meet in Tacoma Saturday morning, June 14. They will be joined via Skype with groups from the U. S. and around the world, including the Detention Watch Network (DC), Conroe TX detention center supporters, No One Is Illegal of Toronto, No CIEs of Valencia and Madrid (Spain), Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network. They will share the work they are doing and develop shared strategies to address the crisis facing families torn apart by immigration practices. The rally will include reports from that assembly, as well a music loud enough to be heard inside the immigration prison and phone calls from inside which may announce a new hunger strike. Continue reading

Father’s Day Shame on Schumer: Stop deporting New York families! #EndTheQuota

2014FFF_flyer copyFather’s Day Shame on Schumer:

Stop deportation complex that tears New York families apart!

Why: A quick review of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s record reveals he has built a public persona as an immigrant rights advocate while turning his back on immigrants and specifically his fellow New Yorkers whose best interest and voices he was elected to represent.

When: June 13 @ 12 pm to 1:30 pm

Where: In front of Schumer’s office: 780 3rd Ave (between 48th and 49th Street) New York, NY 10017

Who: Families for Freedom and directly affected families in partnership with Detention Watch Network, Enlace and Migrant Power Alliance.

Schumer’s Shameful Record:

As the lead Senate Democrat working immigration, he was part of the failed Gang of 8 – which drove an enforcement-heavy reform agenda.

Out of sync with momentum nationwide in the movement to stop all deportations – Schumer recently voiced opposition to President Obama reviewing the devastating deportation system and providing immediate relief. http://bzfd.it/1lmsbEH

He’s taken over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the private prison industry and pushed for billions more dollars spent on increased enforcement and detention of immigrants. http://bit.ly/1in05Vi

At least 7K of the people from NY in the past 5 years who got deported have US citizen children.ICE’s detention and deportation policies are breaking apart New York City families and neighborhoods. From October 2005 through December 2010, the parents of 13,521 U.S. citizen children were apprehended in New York. This data is often not obtained from ICE, so the actual number is likely much higher.

NY deportation number source:

NYU School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic; Immigrant Defense Project; Families for Freedom. Report: “Insecure Communities, Devastated Families, New Data on Immigrant Detention and Deportation Practices in New York.” July 23, 2012.bit.ly/1hKbgpv

Prison Divestment in the West!

Breaking News in the Private Prison Divestment Campaign

Recognizing that we all have ties to the for-profit private prison industry, labor councils and cities are working to cut those ties.In the Pacific Northwest, home of GEO Group’s notorious Northwest Detention Center, city divestment resolutions are moving forward in Seattle and Portland. Last week, the Human Rights Commissions of both cities endorsed resolutions calling on their cities to divest from private prisons and their major investors.

Major investors in private prisons provide the support for the private prison industry to lobby for policies that unjustly imprison immigrants and people of color in out-sourced facilities where sexual abuse and other atrocities are rampant.

Live in Portland? Sign the petition demanding that your city stop supporting for-profit immigrant prisons!

Live in Seattle? Sign the petition demanding that your city and US Senators stop supporting outsourced immigrant prisons!

Last month, the Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling on all public institutions to divest their holdings in private prisons. The two largest pensions in California, CalPERS and CalSTRS, own millions in the powerful CCA and GEO prison corporations. The Labor Council’s resolution also called on California’s US Senators to stop federal contracting with private prisons. Read the resolution, and learn how to start your public pension divestment in our new toolkit, Unload Your Pension.

Million Shares Club: 36 Major Private Prison Investors

There are 36 U.S.-based major financial investors that own over one million shares of CCA and GEO combined. The following companies each own over 1 million shares of CCA and GEO, and collectively own over two-thirds of CCA and GEO: Continue reading