As I noted at the end of part 1 of this series, the immigration detention industry is paid for by society, yet offers no direct profit to society.
Contrast this with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These programs offer direct societal benefits of providing a direct income or medical care. Under our current system, they do result in corporate profits but only afterthe money or service passes through the hands of the beneficiary.
None of this is true with immigrant detention centers. Instead the money goes first through the hands of the corporation. The corporation determines how much a worker gets paid after first considering their own profit margin, which is their first and only concern.
It is true that these facilities provide jobs and incomes for those that work there. They may boost local community revenues to some degree. However, this can only be seen as a temporary situation. There will come a time when the immigrant population will become so low that these facilities will decrease, leading to these facilities being closed again.
This could very well leave these communities in even worse condition than they began. You can count on the fact that many municipalities and local businesses will take out loans based on the increased revenue they see in the immediate present. So will many individuals, taking on new debt in the form of mortgages, vehicles, credit card debt and so on. Once the facilities begin reducing staff, cutting hours and closing doors, this party ends and the cleanup begins. The income will be gone and the bills will still have to be paid.
As long as these facilities remain open only for the purpose of detaining immigrants, this system is unsustainable. Eventually so many immigrants will be deported or naturalized that the end is inevitable.
For the record, the Socialist statement is also true of all of ICE, minus the corporate profit.
The alternative is considerably worse. That another use is found for these facilities. Like turning them into federal detention facilities. For whom? That’s the terrifying thing to think about. We already see laws being enacted to make it illegal to protest against corporate interests such as oil pipelines. We see laws being put in place which may well lead to it being a crime to protest our government giving billions in aid to Israel. I have no doubt laws already exist making it a crime to protest weapons manufacturers.
This in a country already hosting the largest prison population on the planet at any time in history.
Should these facilities turn into federal detention centers for other purposes, that would mean some working at those facilities would no longer be eligible to work there because employment criteria would change. These facilities would no longer be holding areas but actual prisons. The criteria for employment would then require security screening and training above and beyond anything currently required. In some cases, it would require training in restraint procedures and weapons training. (Of course, many currently working there would likely look forward to such things.) The inmates would be deemed “dangerous dissidents” and “terrorists”, even if they were someone like me, an anti-war, mostly pacifist blogger pushing for changes to our system which benefit everyone. ICE would likely be repurposed into a federal police force to identify and round up people like myself, then detain us with no charges, no right to representation, no Habeas Corpus at all.
Should that happen, many of those incarcerated would be family members, friends, social and business associates of those working in the facilities. Make no mistake that it would become a criminal act to protest the facilities themselves.
Some are going to claim that this projection will never happen, that it is unrealistic. Yet we have already gone so much further into what can only be described as fascism that our country is looking more like a dystopian nightmare than any sane person currently living in this country could believe. We are bombing 7 countries, collapsing our economy while corporate news denies it’s happening, spending an unbelievable amount on “defense”, threatening military action against at least 5 more countries, sanctioning our allies, destroying our own industries, handing all of the wealth to the already insanely wealthy, denying medical care and even food to those at lower income levels, poisoning our own water and land for the purpose of corporate profits, obliterating human and Constitutional rights at every level. What the HELL makes you think you are not next?!!
The last irony I will mention is this. Many of those who support these detention centers like to view themselves as “Christians”. The Bible teaches one to love your neighbor, love your enemy, feed to poor, heal the sick, judge not and to treat others as you wish to be treated. It also teaches you to welcome foreigners into your home and treat them as a guest, not only as an equal but with honor. One of the greatest sins listed in the Bible is pride and arrogance. The worst part for alleged “Christians” is that the majority of the immigrants from Mexico and South America are far more devout Christians than those who choose to eject them from this country.
Each day we force regime change on other countries, dictate laws to our allies and neighbors, imprison those who flee the results of our policies, separate families, kill innocent people in the name of “prosperity” and “security”, we deplete our resources, surrender our wealth, stain our reputation.. and create enemies. We are now creating terrorists within our country and in immediate neighboring countries. Those we have harmed for the sake of our own greed will seek restitution in some way, at some time. As individuals and as nations.
This country has suspended a Damoclean Sword above our heads with our actions as a society. It is only a matter of time before that sword falls and we have nowhere to turn to evade it. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
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