Prison industry helped create Arizona immigration law

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, speaking at a news conference about efforts by state legislators to propose legislation to deny U.S. citizenship to children of illegal immigrants Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, in Phoenix.

Prison companies helped draft and pass controversial Arizona’s immigration law SB1070, a National Public Radio investigation shows.

The law is currently tied up in the courts after a judge blocked some of the most contentious provisions of the bill from taking effect. It would allow police to ask people to prove they are in the country legally during a lawful stop.

NPR investigated the prison industry’s role in drafting and passing SB 1070. It’s pretty depressing.

Corporations and interest groups like R.J. Reynolds, ExxonMobil, the NRA, and the Corrections Corporation of America host a regular conference for state legislators in DC. At last December’s conference, the Corrections Corporation of America and Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce drafted the bill that eventually became the Arizona law.

And this bill was an important one for the company. According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in “a significant portion of our revenues” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants.

In the conference room, the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. They discussed and debated language. Then, they voted on it.

“There were no ‘no’ votes,” Pearce said. “I never had one person speak up in objection to this model legislation.”

Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona’s immigration law.

They even named it. They called it the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.”

“ALEC is the conservative, free-market orientated, limited-government group,” said Michael Hough, who was staff director of the meeting.

Hough works for ALEC, but he’s also running for state delegate in Maryland, and if elected says he plans to support a similar bill to Arizona’s law.

Asked if the private companies usually get to write model bills for the legislators, Hough said, “Yeah, that’s the way it’s set up. It’s a public-private partnership. We believe both sides, businesses and lawmakers should be at the same table, together.”

When Pearce introduced his bill the next month, he immediately got 36 co-sponsors. The prison company hired a lobbyist. 30 of the co-sponsors began receiving campaign donations from prison companies and lobbyists.

NPR story connecting SB1070 and the private prison industry though ALEC. Here’s the story in full. It’s worth your time to listen and to read:

Birthright Citizenship Under Attack Again

24 children representing 18 countries take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington on June 12, 2010. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn

From Immigration Policy Center:

October 20, 2010

Washington D.C. – A group of state legislators announced yesterday their intention to pass state-based legislation that would challenge birthright citizenship currently protected in the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is the latest attempt to introduce bills that would deny U.S. citizenship to children whose parents are in the U.S. without authorization or on temporary visas. As restrictionist groups and legislators continue in their attempts to restrict or repeal birthright citizenship in State Houses and the U.S. Congress, it’s important to remember that ending birthright citizenship would be unconstitutional, impractical, expensive, complicated and would not stop unauthorized immigration.

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has developed a range of resources which present a strong case for maintaining and celebrating birthright citizenship and our civil rights heritage.

To view IPC’s resources on birthright citizenship, see:

Defending the Fourteenth Amendment (IPC Resource Page, August, 2010)

For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at or 202-507-7524.

Top 6 Anti-Immigration Activists Caught Using Illegal Labor has a list of anti-immigration activists who score high in hypocrisy.

Anti-Immigration activists are staunchly against anybody coming into the U.S. and “taking our jobs”. They believe in the true American values… of hypocrisy, under-paying hard workers and and breaking a little something we all like to call “the law.” Well, at least the biggest supporters of anti-immigration policies do. Here are the most gloriously, ironically incriminating cases of people who’ve been caught in the act of breaking the laws they spend their entire careers touting.

From liberal to conservative, anti-immigration activists have inspired many racist political campaigns and supported many amnesty-free methods of either deporting or criminalizing illegal workers instead of actually wanting to fix the problem itself.

The complete list includes:

1. Lou Dobbs

2. Meg Whitman

3. Mitt Romney

4. Lorraine Henderson, Homeland Security Officer

5. Linda Chavez

6. Michael Huffington

Michael Huffington Top 6 Anti-Immigration Activists Caught Using Illegal Labor People

Illegal Immigrants Draft Legal Plans in Case of Deportation

Alan Gomez of USA Today reports on a bitter sign of the times:  “Immigrants nervous about stronger enforcement have started drawing up legal documents to spell out what they want to happen to their families and belongings if they are deported.”

Attorneys in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas say illegal immigrants began approaching them for help preparing the documents as the national debate over immigration heated up in recent months.

“There’s a culture of fear out there,” says Jason Mills, a Fort Worth immigration attorney who was not asked for such help until this year.

Cecilia Menjívar, an Arizona State University sociology professor, says immigrant families started preparing informal plans in 2006, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were conducting raids at work sites.

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