Providing a Service: Marco Rubio on Detention Center Corporate Influence

Hector Salamanca Arroyo on June 06, 2015
Senator Marco Rubio was asked about the relationship between for-profit prisons and the influence they have on immigration policy at his town hall meeting in Ames, IA.

Providing a Service: Marco Rubio on Detention Centers

I got the opportunity to attend Senator Marco Rubio’s town hall meeting at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Ames. After arriving at the event, my friend Marlu and I made our way into the reception room and managed to sit at the front of the room, being in a prime position to listen and ask a question.

As the time approached for Senator Rubio to speak, his staff began to encourage people to stand up and crowd the front of the podium, which allowed me to get even closer.

After Senator Rubio’s speech, he began to go through the crowd, shaking hands and signing autographs. My friend Marlu and I waited our turn to ask him a question, with the crowd closing around us until it was my turn.

I was prepared to ask him the following question: Many immigrant detention centers are also owned by for-profit prisons who lobby extensively to detain more immigrants, like the 34,000 detention bed quota. What would you do to get those who profit from immigrant detention out of the public policy making process?

As he turned to us, Marlu began recording as I began with my question “Many detention centers are also owned by for-profit prisons who also extensively impact immigration policy specifically the detention bed quota mandate. Um, what would you do specifically to get those who benefit from…

At this point, he cut me off and stated “Well they are just contractors being hired to do something that’s important. Just last week or just this week there was information that a bunch of very dangerous people were released. Um, some from these facilities, we have immigration laws and they have to be enforced. We need to reform our immigration system on a number of fronts, we need to have ah better enforcement mechanisms to prevent future illegal immigration, we need to modernize our legal immigration system, so that it is more merit based, and and we do need to address the fact that we have 12 million people living in this country who are going to be here for the rest of their lives. But we also have to enforce the laws and that’s what these facilities are part of doing.”

Not satisfied with his answer, I continued “So you would be for, so what they are doing though is that they are impacting the policy, the detention policy so would you be in favor for taking those who…

Once again, he cut me off, stating “Well I don’t agree with that conclusion you have reached. Ultimately the government contracts the people that provide a service and that’s what they are providing, a service. You violate our immigration laws and there are consequences for it.”

Seeing how he appeared done answering my question, I stated okay and asked him for a picture. He agreed for a picture and continued through the crowd.  


Holiday Inn Ames Conference Center
2609 University Blvd
Ames, IA
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