Kasich still mum on detention quota question

Arnie Alpert on November 06, 2015
We've given John Kasich information about the immigrant detention mandate and asked him multiple times for his view on the topic. Still, he says, "I'll have to check that out."

Months after promise to investigate, Kasich still mum on detention quota question

Today was John Kasich’s day to file his official candidacy papers with the New Hampshire Secretary of State in Concord.  When the Ohio governor emerged from his bus and approached the State House steps, I grabbed his hand and re-introduced myself.

I met him for the first time on March 24 at the Concord Snowshoe Club, where I told him about for-profit prisons that detain immigrants under provisions of a federal budget policy that mandates daily detention facilities for 34,000 immigrants.   He said he didn’t know anything about it.    I saw him again on May 5, at a corner in downtown Concord, where he once again told me he was not familiar with the detention mandate.  That time I handed him a copy of “Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota,” a report from Grassroots Leadership.  “When you have reviewed it,” I wrote in a cover letter, “we would be interested in your reaction.  In particular, we would like to know what policies you would support to limit the ability of firms that run for-profit prisons from influencing immigration policies.”  (See “Kasich Gets Information on Immigrant Detention Quota.”).  

Nancy Pape approached Kasich two months later at a GOP Town Hall event in Barrington.  She used the for-profit immigrant detention industry as an example of corporate cronyism, the cozy relationship between corporations and the members of Congress they back with campaign contributions.   In response to her question that he look into the issue, Kasich said, "I promise I will."  (See “Kasich Says He’ll Investigate For-Profit Detention.”)

Eric spoke to Gov. Kasich, too, at another event in July.  Kasich again said he didn’t know much about the detention mandate, but did say, “"I wouldn’t be for hassling people because somebody wants to make some money."  (See “Undocumented immigrants are Americans says Kasich.”)

“We talked a couple months ago about the immigrant detention quota,” I reminded him this morning.  “34,000 people required to be incarcerated on a daily basis.  I’d love to hear your response to that.”   Hurrying to get upstairs, Kasich brushed past me with no response.

But after he signed the official document in the Secretary of State’s office, Olivia met him coming out of the suite that links the Secretary of State, Executive Council, and Governor’s offices on the second floor of the State House. 

“If you’re elected president, would you end the detention bed quota, that locks up 34,000 immigrants a day?” she asked. 

“I’d have to find out what it is,” Kasich replied.

As Olivia tried to tell him it’s a provision in the federal Homeland Security budget, Kasich said “I’d have to check that out.”

 

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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.