You’ve heard the phrase “follow the money.” It turns out that when it comes to child detention, the money trail is a foul one indeed. Companies and lobbyists stand to benefit.
A number of companies have won lucrative contracts with the federal government to operate child detention shelters including the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facility in Homestead, Florida.
The immigration policies of the Trump administration create a powerful financial incentive to prolong the detention system, even when it violates human rights and U.S. law.
- Comprehensive Health Services co-manages the Homestead facility and was awarded a $600,000 tax break from then-Florida governor Rick Scott. The deal occurred just five months after the company paid $3.8 million to the Justice Department to settle a major Medicare fraud case.
- Former Governor Scott served as CEO of the Hospital Corporation of America during a federal investigation that eventually forced the company to pay what was at that time the largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history.
- The program coordinator for Comprehensive Health Services’ ORR shelters, including Homestead, is a former employee of Hospital Corporation of America.
- Comprehensive Health Services is owned by Caliburn International,the corporation founded by C. Capital Partners, which has close ties to John Kelly, a former Trump administration official.
- General Dynamics won a contract to provide “training and technical assistance” at the Homestead facility.
- General Dynamics has allegedly “faced $280.3 million in penalties for 23 misconduct cases since 1995,” involving underpayment of wages and other regulatory and labor violations, according to the Daily Beast.
- General Dynamics has a controversial history of working with security contractor Sallyport Global, which in turn is also owned by C. Capital Partners — the John Kelly-linked firm that created the corporation that now owns Comprehensive Health Services.
- Former Trump administration defense chief John Mattis is also a former board member of General Dynamics.
- According to the New Times, at least 14 children at the Homestead facility were transferred to an adult immigration detention center as soon as they turned 18. This detention center is owned by the GEO Group— an infamous prison and detention contractor that has been implicated in medical neglect, forced labor, and other human rights abuses at the facilities they operate.
- The GEO Group has made major campaign contributions to Donald Trump, and hired a lobbyist who previously worked on behalf of Trump’s Florida golf courses.
Most people are unaware that these Florida-based companies have large contracts with ICE:
Aircraft Transport Services. Located in Palm City, Aircraft Transport Services is an air ambulance company that moonlights as a deportation airline for ICE. Size of contract: $23,425,066
G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc. Based in Palm Beach Gardens, this company transports detained immigrants between prison facilities in the U.S., and manages detention centers of its own in other countries. Size of contract: $17,554,192.
Telco Solutions, Inc. Based in Naples, Telco Solutions is providing ICE with licenses for business accounting software. Size of contract: $1,491,350.
The GEO Group, Inc. The for-profit Boca-Raton-based GEO Group mentioned above, became ICE’s single largest beneficiary. The company has received an estimated $480 million from ICE since Trump took office. Its current contracts with ICE are for facilities in Texas, Colorado, Georgia, California and Washington, and they face numerous lawsuits for poor conditions and abuse of detainees. Per Mother Jones, GEO illegally donated $250,000 to a pro-Trump PAC in 2016. Size of contract: $192,087,177.
You shouldn’t be able to turn a profit from imprisoning people. Contact your elected officials and let them know that child detention must end.