Trump's Executive Order Rewards Private Prison Campaign Donors
In April, the Trump administration launched a zero-tolerance immigration policy that subjects everyone who crosses the border without prior authorization to possible criminal prosecution. This policy applies even to people who have a legal right to enter in pursuit of asylum. So far, the policy has separated more than 2,500 children from their parents, who are either waiting for a criminal hearing or have already been deported. This punishment is a disproportionately cruel response to mostly misdemeanor charges and largely meted out to people exercising their legal right to seek asylum.
The return on investment for private prison companies is even more significant when it is compared with the amount of money these companies contributed to the Trump campaign. GEO Group Inc. has contributed large amounts of money to President Trump since the 2016 election. During the election, GEO Corrections Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of GEO Group Inc., gave $225,000 to the pro-Trump political action committee Rebuilding America Now. As a result, the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that it is illegal for an entity receiving a federal government contract to contribute to a political campaign. In response to the lawsuit, GEO Group Inc. claimed that “although GEO Corrections Holdings Inc., the company that made the donation, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GEO Group, it is a non-contracting legal entity and has no contracts with any governmental agency.” The complaint has not yet been resolved. Furthermore, GEO Group Inc. and CoreCivic contributed $250,000 each to the president’s inauguration. In addition to these contributions, GEO Group Inc. even relocated its annual conference to a Trump-owned resort in Boca Raton, Florida.