Private for-profit prison companies spend millions of dollars every year lobbying at the local, state and federal levels for stricter immigration laws and enforcement.
The largest such company, Corrections Corporation of America, spent more than $18 million on such activities between 1999 and 2009, reports Fox News.
The company is even involved in writing immigration legislation which legislators can then introduce into state legislatures.
Companies that run prisons for profit have boosted lobbying efforts in the past decade and enjoy growing influence over the U.S. immigration detention system, the Detention Watch Network says in a new report.
“For years, private prison firms have played a critical role in shaping public policy around immigration detention, pursuing the bottom line at the expense of basic civil rights and taxpayer dollars,” DWN’s director of Policy and Advocacy, Emily Tucker, said in a statement.
The surge in private prisons has been accompanied by increases in allegations of abuse and neglect.