Sandra Hernandez is communications director for the ACLU of Southern California.
Immigration jails look to be the next big money maker for the private prison industry, according to National Public Radio's Laura Sullivan.
NPR's story reveals how private prison industry officials were instrumental in drafting Arizona's controversial law -- Senate Bill 1070 -- that could send thousands of immigrants to private immigration detention centers. The new law requires police to arrest anyone unable to show they are legally in the U.S.
The report also sheds light on how many of the legislative co-sponsors of the law 'received donations from private prison companies and their lobbyists.'
Immigration detention is the fastest growing form of incarceration in the United States.
In California, the largest immigration jails are operated by local law enforcement. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agreed to pay the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department $51 million to house 1,400 immigrants at the Mira Loma detention facility located in Lancaster, just north of downtown Los Angeles.
Since then other local law enforcement agencies have sought similar contracts as a way to help offset fiscal woes. This July, the Orange County Sheriff's Department struck a deal with the federal government to house immigration detainees that will reportedly generate $30 million in revenue for that department, according to published reports.
It appears that the private prison industry is now helping shape the laws that produce it's profits.