Washington, D.C. – As part of his racial equity policy agenda, today President Biden signed an executive order instructing the Department of Justice to phase out its contracts with private prisons. The order does not apply to ending private prison contracts with other agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which, as of January 2020, detained over 80 percent of immigrants in its custody within private detention facilities.
Cynthia Garcia, National Campaigns Manager for Community Protection of United We Dream, said:
“Private prison companies have always profited off the exploitation, abuse and mass incarceration of Black and brown people. President Biden’s executive order to gradually end these contracts is an important first step in ensuring the safety of our communities, but it is certainly not the end. Private detention facilities remain the bedrock of detaining Black and brown immigrants in ICE custody and have consistently operated with impunity.
President Biden must recognize that immigrant justice is racial justice; the two are not mutually exclusive. In order to enact a more comprehensive agenda that truly prioritizes racial equity, President Biden must dismantle private prisons on all fronts, including ending private prisons partnerships and contracts held with ICE. Despite a long-standing track record of neglect and abuse against immigrants held in ICE detention centers, private partnerships and prison contracts have abetted a cruel and unjust system that further punishes immigrants for speaking out against violence and mistreatment. These abuses will only worsen the longer these contracts exist and the more unnecessary funding is funneled into the Department of Homeland Security.”