President Donald Trump’s fight against illegal immigration has real human costs and private companies are gearing up to exploit it.
Francisco Rodriguez Guardado is currently working as a janitor at MIT. He also has a cleaning business that he operates on the side. According to Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, he has lived in the United States for ten years with two children, and another is on the way. According to the site, he was fleeing violence in El Salvador when he came to the United States as an undocumented resident. He is scheduled to be detained on July 13th.
The Rodriguez story is becoming a common one across the United States, as President Trump’s rhetoric is being put into action. According to The Washington Post, arrests of immigrants have increased by 32 percent from last year to this year, as from January to March 21,362 arrests were made. This is, in part, due to the pursuit of immigrants and is not based on criminal records, rather it focused on their status as residents. While former President Barack Obama did, in fact, deport more immigrants than any other president in our history, he also focused on criminal immigrants, who made up approximately 91 percent of the deportations, according to government data via ABCNews. With that said, due to the drastic shift towards the deportation of non-criminal immigrants, human rights are at risk.
Many people who came to the United States illegally have been here for years, and like Rodriguez, have built successful lives. They also contribute to the success of the United States’ economy and government. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that illegal immigrants contributed approximately 12 billion dollars in tax revenue, which illustrates that much of the rhetoric stating that they do not contribute is false. Along with this, according to research conducted by Kristin Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl, they found that immigrants from the ages of 18 to 40 are actually committing crimes at lower rates.
So why the large-scale deportations? Why such hateful rhetoric from President Trump? While it is a legitimate statement to say it was all done and said to win an election, the reasoning dives into deeper and much darker territory.
With President Trump promising to deport up to 2 million immigrants, private prisons seem to be in the best position to profit. According to Mother Jones, 65 percent of ICE detainees were held in private prisons as of November of 2016. The CEO of CoreCivic, a player in the private prison sector, Damon Hininger, was quoted as saying “When coupled with the above average rate of crossings along the southwest border, these executive orders appear likely to significantly increase the need for safe, humane, and appropriate detention bed capacity that we have available.” While Hininger may be phrasing this is a positive light, what he is saying is that they are preparing for an influx of business, which, ultimately, will result in profits.
This comes also as Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the order to reduce private prisons. President Obama had instructed the Justice Department to phase out the practice, but his desire will at least be prolonged by Sessions. He claims that this was done in the name of flexibility, but in actuality, the former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, said that the private prisons “simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources.”
And so, in the end, with the increase in peaceful and law-abiding citizens being deported, the United States becomes a less welcoming place. In addition to this, people, like Francisco Rodriguez, who are only seeking a better life, are being used to generate profits for private prison. As a result, mass movements have been launched to protest and resist the agenda of Attorney General Sessions and President Trump, but the results of their plan have already proven to be frightening.