A project of the Center for Community Change

What is one of the fastest growing industries in the US?

What is one of the fastest growing money-making ventures in the US today?

Hint: This venture leads to the disruption of lives, the destruction of families, and a loss of responsibility to our communities.

No, not the Iraq war- guess again.

How about the growing prison construction and management industry? But that wouldn’t make too much sense given the fact that throughout the 1990’s the profitability of prisons plummeted due to the creation of prison and rehab alternatives for those convicted of crimes (many positive programs that have helped reshpae individual’s lives much more than a simple prison cell).

Despite that decline prisons are one of the fastest growing industries in the US- how so? Immigration detention growth. ICE is consistently raising the number of detention centers and beds in exisitng centers creating a major industry around the detention and destruction of families. Some might say- so what?

The implications of this growth are staggering. For one, you being to see small towns and regional businesses becoming more and more invested in the criminalization of immigrants. You have more and more individuals invested in institutions that are often poorly supervised and have led to many well-documented civil rights abuses.

Once our broken immigration system becomes a multi-million dollar industry, we will be less able to reform and improve it (see: the militarization of our border over the last several decades). Americans know that our immigration system isn’t right- but the longer we wait and turn a blind-eye to the trampling of rights for ill-earned profits the more sure we will be of having that broken system for the rest of our lives, and our children’s lives.

Want to act? Are you organizing and acting already? tell us about it here!

Check-out this article on the expansion of a local detention center in Raymondville, TX:

VALLEY FREEDOM NEWSPAPERS Willacy County plans detention expansion   RAYMONDVILLE — Willacy County officials have taken preliminary steps to build a 1,000-bed expansion to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center.
   Planning for three permanent buildings is in the works, rather than additional Kevlar dome tent-type structures that are being used now, Sheriff Larry Spence said.
   “They’ve been having meetings with Homeland Security and ICE,” the sheriff said. “They’re wanting to expand. They’re waiting (for federal approval). At least they’re laying the groundwork for it.”
   District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra said county commissioners violated the Texas Open Government Act this week by discussing the detention center in closed session and then voting for it afterward without discussion.
   Guerra said Thursday that commissioners illegally approved the “$40 million project.”
   In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry last month, County Judge Eliseo Barnhart said commissioners have had to hire outside attorneys to advise them because Guerra hasn’t attended a county meeting for months.
   Commissioner Eddie Chapa would only confirm that an “economic development” item was passed Monday after discussion in closed session.

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