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Immigrant Detention Could Become A Nonprofit Business

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering kicking out businesses making major cash off of illegal immigration.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced in a statement Aug. 29 that DHS is reviewing its use of illegal immigrant detention centers run by private firms. The review was prompted by the Department of Justice’s decision Aug. 18 to start getting rid of privately run prisons.

Johnson has delegated the review process and subsequent policy recommendations to the DHS’s Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), which is tasked with giving Johnson, “independent advice to support decision-making across the spectrum of homeland security operations.” The HSAC chairman is Judge William Webster, who was the director of the FBI under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Webster then went on to lead the CIA, becoming director of Central Intelligence under Reagan.

Reviewing DHS detention center policies has caused divisions within the department, according to the Los Angeles Times. A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official told the LA Times on the condition of anonymity that, “It would be remarkably detrimental,” to get rid of privately run detention centers. The aforementioned official went on to claim that taxpayers would be on the hook for billions more per year to make up for ousting the private sector from the detention center business.

Two out of three illegal immigrants in a DHS detention center are in privately run facilities. Nine of the top 10 DHS detention centers are managed by the private sector, according to the LA Times.

HSAC should come up with a recommendation for Johnson by the end of November.

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