Does Jeb Bush Oppose Detention Quota?

Arnie Alpert on July 05, 2015
Asked if he's thought more about the immigrant detention quota being applied to feed the profits of private prison companies, Jeb Bush said, “I’m totally opposed to that, if that’s the case."

After the July 4 parade in Amherst, Governor Jeb Bush spent a few minutes mingling with the crowd at the town common.  I approached him as he was leaving, stuck out my hand, and mentioned that my friend had spoken to him several weeks ago about the detention quota for immigrants.

Gov. Bush looked puzzled.  “Detention quota?” he asked.

I tried to give a quick explanation of the federal budget provision that requires capacity to incarcerate 34,000 immigrants at a time, and that currently most of them are held in for-profit prisons.

He nodded.

“Have you been able to reflect on this policy?” I asked.  “People are being picked up to feed the profits of for-profit prisons.”

“I’m totally opposed to that if that’s the case,” Bush finally replied, while attempting to steer the conversation toward the release of violent criminals.  

We will try to supply his campaign with information that documents how the “detention quota” is operating, with for-profit companies getting 62% of the detainees.  Given that their contracts include “guaranteed minimum” provisions, it’s certainly fair to say that there’s a close link between detention policies and the profit motives of the prison companies.  

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Arnie Alpert

Arnie Alpert

Arnie Alpert is co-director of the American Friends Service Committee’s New Hampshire Program, which he has led since 1981.  In that time he has been involved in movements for economic justice and affordable housing, civil and worker rights, peace and disarmament, abolition of the death penalty, and an end to racism and homophobia.