Special Interests

Private Prisons Behind Immigration Laws

Private corporations that own and operate prisons were intimately involved in the writing and passage of Arizona’s strict new immigration law, according to a new report from National Public Radio. Through an enigmatic organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), private-prison companies, namely the Corrections Corporation of America, shaped an immigration bill that would increase their revenue by mandating that illegals be incarcerated in large numbers. That bill became Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. The Corrections Corporation of America sees immigration detention as its next big market, providing “a significant portion of our revenues,” according to company documents, NPR reports. Two-thirds of the bills co-sponsors are either members of the ALEC group or were present at the meeting where the idea for the bill was first floated, and 30 of the 36 co-sponsors received campaign donations from private prisons or private-prison lobbyists in the months after the bill was first put forward.