In the first months of his administration, President Donald Trump has made good on a campaign promise: to tighten immigration restrictions and crack down on immigrants living in the United States illegally. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, has rounded up immigrants in raids across the country, creating a boom for private prisons — an industry that's a growing part of the Texas economy.
CoreCivic and the GEO Group operate most of the private prisons in the U.S. Both companies’ stock has surged in value during the Trump administration, in large part because their facilities now house significantly more detainees, according to a recent story by Investigative Reporter Lise Olsen of the Houston Chronicle.
Olsen says Texas will soon be home the the nation’s largest immigrant detention complex: a privately operated facility in Conroe. The facility will have room for more than 2,500 detainees.
Olsen says it's difficult to unravel the details of the contracts between some of these private prison facilities and the government. City and county governments working with ICE may manage the contract, or the private prison operator may have some other subcontracting relationship with a local or federal jurisdiction. The murkiness of the relationships makes it difficult for one jurisdiction to know what facilities another jurisdiction has planned, or how much public money is being spent.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.