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Private Companies Earn Billions in Migrant Detention Industry, Analysis Shows
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Photo courtesy of The Source.

Summary: Private companies made almost one billion dollars detaining unaccompanied minors and separated migrant children. 

In the past decade, private companies have raked in billions from the government to detain migrant children. The analysis was conducted by the Associated Press, according to Time.


“Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually — a tenfold increase over the past decade, an Associated Press analysis finds. Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody,” Time said.

Time stated that over 118,000 children, babies to the age of 17, are housed all around the country. They are separated from their families as the adults go through proceedings, or the children arrived on their own and are awaiting asylum procedures.

The children are in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

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HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolf said that the agency has asked for bids for five projects that will provide beds, foster care, and medical care for minors in the program, and these projects will cost more than $500 million. So far, there are already three facilities for children under the age of 5.

The AP said that in the past ten years Southwest Key and Baptist Child & Family Services received the most taxpayer money. Southwest Key has received $1.29 billion to operate shelters and Baptist Child & Family Services received $942 million. Othe recipients of government money include nonprofits, religious organizations and for-profit entities.

The treatment of undocumented immigrants have caused huge controversy. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, has visited shelters and called them “prisons.”

“You can’t put a child in a prison. You cannot. It’s immoral,” Gillibrand said.

In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy to illegal immigration, and that meant that every undocumented adult found was criminally prosecuted. While the adults were detained in jail, their children were sent to separate facilities.

Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, said that the recent policy has exposed problems with the system, which President Donald Trump has repeatedly decried as a waste of money for the American people.

“It was never intended to be a foster care system with more than 10,000 children in custody at an immediate cost to the federal taxpayer of over $1 billion dollars per year,” Wagner said in a statement.

A judge has ordered the government to immediately reunite migrant families, but so far, the government has been unable to meet the deadlines.

What do you think of the money spent on detained immigrant children? Let us know in the comments below.


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