Biden Sending Illegals to Jail, Sort Of 

Ann Kosolapova /
Ann Kosolapova /

In May 2021, senior immigration officials reviewed illegal immigrant detention centers to figure out which should be permanently closed or reformed. The review, resulting from detainee complaints, identified several unnamed facilities for closure, with only one shut down. Then, the review was halted. 

The paused overhaul aligned with a surge in profits for private prisons from contracts with ICE. This period also saw a rise in the number of detainees held in private centers, as per a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

In public, Biden alleges to support moving away from prisons for housing illegals. The administration closed a few of the more questionable lockups, but to the officials conducting the review, it seemed like only the bare minimum in the face of the sweeping overhaul they had envisioned. 

While the review’s goal was to stop the use of prison facilities for housing illegal immigrants in inhumane conditions, the White House and Mayorkas were more concerned over backlash from the counties that had economic interests in keeping the facilities open. 

Georgia lockup Stewart Detention Center, privately owned by CoreCivic, has faced criticism following the deaths of eight detainees, the most deaths of any detention center since 2017.  In addition, four female detainees allege sexual assault by a male nurse at the facility. CoreCivic has since placed the nurse on administrative leave pending an investigation, and the prison remains open as an ICE detention center. 

Another questionable facility that Biden refused to close was Louisiana’s Winn Correctional Center. In 2021, officials recommended the detention center be closed because of many health and safety violations. In 2022, the detention center, run by LaSalle Corrections, remained open despite assurances by the Biden administration to limit its use. The facility currently holds over 1,000 illegal immigrants. 

LaSalle also runs Louisiana’s Richwood Correctional Center, a facility that has had repeated issues with a lack of translation services. In 2022, a detainee at Richwood acted as a translator for another detainee who was experiencing stroke-like symptoms. Richwood addressed the deficiencies by adding translation tools and hiring more translators. 

While the pandemic led to a decrease in detainee numbers, partly due to legal actions by advocacy organizations, these figures are rising again. 

In July, an analysis by the ACLU revealed that over 90% of the approximately 31,000 individuals in ICE custody were housed in private facilities, a notable increase from the 80% reported at the end of the Trump administration. 

During Biden’s presidency, GEO Group, a private prison corporation, witnessed a surge in revenues from ICE contracts associated with detention centers and the remote monitoring of immigrants. Their earnings reached an all-time high of $1.05 billion in 2022, marking an almost 40% rise compared to the preceding year, as indicated by corporate documents. 

Like GEO Group, CoreCivic, a major competitor in the private prison sector, also experienced substantial profits from ICE throughout Biden’s tenure, as per corporate records. 

ICE compensates facilities according to the beds they offer, whether the beds are being used or not. California’s Adelanto ICE Processing Center, managed by GEO Group, currently houses 16 individuals due to a court mandate linked to COVID-19. ICE continues to pay for the upkeep of at least 640 beds at this facility throughout 2023. 

Back in March 2021, in response to an executive order by President Biden aimed at phasing out the use of private prisons for federal detainees, a remote correctional facility located in central Pennsylvania and managed by GEO Group ceased its operations. Within six months, the complex was reopened under a new contract as an immigration detention center. 

Presently known as the Moshannon Valley Processing Center, the facility has undergone certain changes: the removal of razor wire from the fences, unarmed staff, and a shift in terminology where detainees are referred to as “residents,” while guards are titled “resident advisers.” 

About 80% of the prison staff transitioned to working at the detention center, controlled checkpoints are still used for visitors, and detainees’ movements remain restricted. Isolation cells are present for solitary confinement situations. 

Renovated prisons make perfect sense for housing illegal immigrants. Even NYC Mayor Eric Adams has floated the idea of setting up a tent city for them on Riker’s Island. It’s a good message for illegal immigrants to receive. Cross the border illegally and end up in jail. 

It beats the current message of “cross the border illegally and stay in a luxury hotel.”