Congresswoman Advocates Ban on Immigration Agencies Contracting with Private Prisons

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Nydia Velázquez with activists and community leader at Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center. (A Katz, Shutterstock.com)

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and 16 other lawmakers sent a letter to the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, requesting that Congress prohibit US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) from contracting with private prisons.

In the letter, which was sent in late March, Velázquez (D-N.Y.) requested that the annual funding bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice, and State should prohibit ICE and CBP from contracting with private prison facilities. “We are concerned over the use of federal funds to subsidize private prisons involved in immigration enforcement,” the letter read. “Such prisons are [disproportionately] used for immigration purposes.”

Velázquez cited a 2017 NPR report which found that ICE issued over $2 billion to private prison facilities. It pointed to a prison in Louisiana which partnered with ICE to focus on…

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