Private immigration detention

Bed Mandates and Corporate Profits

Tracing the Privatization and Expansion of Immigration Detention in the United States

Ennely Medina

May 9, 2023

“The for-profit private prison industry has been driving the rapid expansion of the  immigrant detention system and their executives haven’t been shy about their reliance on  harsh immigration enforcement to prop up their business model.”

– Grassroots Leadership 

Legislatively imposed bed mandates in immigration detention facilities increase the rates  of immigration detention throughout the United States. While those in favor of the mandate rely on narratives about illegal immigration and counterterrorism to legitimize their actions, the  simultaneous implementation of bed mandates and the expansion of the private prison industry is  hard to ignore. This piece aims to reveal the direct and indirect ways in which the private prison  industry shaped the immigration regulatory landscape to best fit its goal of profit maximization,  legitimizing racial and xenophobic hierarchies at the cost of immigrants’ lives suffering in detention.