An interesting read from NPR today: The private prison industry — specifically, the Corrections Corporation of America — helped Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce draft his now-infamous illegal immigration law.
According to NPR, Pearce brought his draft legislation to a December meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Washington, D.C. The representatives of several corporations were there, including officials from the Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prisons company.
The legislative language approved unanimously at that meeting went on to become Arizona’s immigration law (currently stayed pending court challenges). In the months in between, 30 of the bill’s 36 sponsors drew in campaign donations from the private prisons industry, NPR reports.
The Corrections Corporation of America denies doing any lobbying on the Arizona law.
The Geo Group, another private prisons company, suggested on a call with investors earlier this year that stricter immigration laws is good for business:
In May, The Geo Group had a conference call with investors. When asked about the bill, company executives made light of it, asking, “Did they have some legislation on immigration?”
After company officials laughed, the company’s president, Wayne Calabrese, cut in.
“This is Wayne,” he said. “I can only believe the opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what’s happening. Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained and that for me, at least I think, there’s going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do.”