Questions On Public-Private Prisons For Immigrants

In remote places along the southwest border of the US, the consequences of recent immigration crackdown are changing the face of imprisonment in this part of America. There, public-private prisons are being built to hold immigrants both legal and illegal.

These prisons are publicly owned by local governments, privately operated by corporations, publicly financed by tax-exempt bonds, and located in depressed communities, says journalist Tom Barry, who reported on a new trend in dealing with immigrants in a recent issue of the Boston Review.

The immigrants held at these prisons are dubbed "criminal aliens" by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Barry tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross that following 9/11, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection Agencys have teamed with local police to target immigrants — legal and illegal — who have criminal records for deportation.

Tom Barry covers border security and immigration issues as the Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for International Policy. He has written several books, including The Great Divide and Zapata's Revenge.

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