Thursday, December 31, 2015

Immigration Detention Bed Quotas: Private Prison Corporations, Government Collude to Keep Contracts Secret; Undue Corporate Influence Seen in FOIA Redactions, Attorneys Say

Center for Constitutional Rights Press Release
December 23, 2015

Revolving Door: Former Head of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office, Now High-Level Official at Major Detention Contractor, Asks Court to Support Secrecy

December 23, 2015, New York – In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case related to the federal immigration detention bed quota, advocates today pointed to the government’s inclusion of several affidavits from private prison corporations who are not parties to the case as evidence of undue corporate influence. Detention Watch Network (DWN) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) brought the case against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to seek more information about a controversial measure by Congress to guarantee the funding of 34,000 beds each night to detain immigrants. The government has redacted substantive portions of the contracts with the private companies, claiming exemptions to protect trade secrets.

“Private corporations that profit off detentions have grown to have enormous influence over how and where immigrants are detained,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Ghita Schwarz. “Now they are controlling what information the public can get about the immigration detention system. The government is using what are supposed to be narrow FOIA exemptions to protect the interests of private corporations.”[...]

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