By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
The system for keeping undocumented immigrants in detention pending the resolution of their cases, and, for many of them, their deportation, has been under strong criticism recently after detainee deaths exposed the deplorable treatment inmates receive in some of those jails.
Turns out some of the jails also represent a windfall for the communities that host them.
According to a report by The Boston Globe, this year “the federal government budgeted $1.7 billion nationwide” to cover the expenses of holding detainees. Thirty thousand of them are held on any given day, “almost four times as many as in 1995.”
The Globe’s Maria Sachetti wrote,
Bristol (County, Massachusetts) and other cash-strapped county jails are increasingly embracing the immigration business, capitalizing on the soaring number of foreign-born detainees and the millions of federal dollars a year paid to incarcerate them. Bristol County alone has raked in $33 million since 2001 (…)
“That money is a tremendous boost for us,” said Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald Jr., whose jail houses 324 immigrants, up from 44 a decade ago, bringing in $15.6 million last year. “We aggressively try to market ourselves to get as many of those inmates into our doors as we can.”