Immigration Enforcement Is Big Business

(TFC)— A vast infrastructure of contractors facilitates and profits from immigration enforcement. From providing airline flights and technology to maintaining detention facilities. A database of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracts provided to TFC Network sheds light on this network of outsourcing.

It includes company names, contract values, dates, and brief descriptions of each contract. Similar information can also be found on www.usaspending.gov. Companies ranging from giants like AT&T to an assortment of smaller companies provide ICE with everything from office equipment, to weapons and tactical gear.

Some of the most lucrative contracts are with GEO Group Inc. The notorious private prison company operates and profits from several ICE detention centers. GEO Group, TFC’s database shows, holds more than $509, 000, 000 in ICE contracts. These include “detention services” like providing food and clothing to detainees and maintaining actual detention centers. GEO also holds two contracts for the transportation of “unaccompanied alien children” worth $9,038,994.

A growing movement against GEO Group is blasting the company for its investments in ICE prisoners. Such detention centers have been compared to internment camps which targeted Japanese-American immigrants during WWII.

There’s also the Harris Corporation, making over $4,000,000 in contracts. Harris is a massive international company known for providing US law enforcement with IMSI catchers. Also called cell site simulators, or StingRays, these function as fake cell towers. Once your phone connects, it’s location and data can be easily pinpointed. According to experts interviewed by Pontiac Tribune, StingRay’s can also disrupt cell service, send fake texts, intercept calls, texts, and emails, or even push malware.

Cell site simulators operate across nationwide largely under secrecy. Distributors like Harris require agencies sign non-disclosure agreements before receiving or using the device. Similar NDA’s are circulated when IMSI catchers pass between police agencies.

Harris provides ICE with “over-the-air tracking equipment”, tech support, and communications radios. This specific contract, worth over $19,000, also has a sub-clause for “electronic counter-measures”. ICE contracts with Harris aren’t due for renewal until 2022. Harris didn’t respond to TFC Network requests for comment. The Harris contracts and their links to Stingray surveillance were further reported on by Pontiac Tribune.

ICE also contracts CACI International for “TACCOMM”, or tactical communications. CACI’s history, however, is more interesting than it’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract.

During the 2003 Iraq invasion, CACI earned multi-million dollar contracts for the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners of war. It’s employee’s were particularly notorious for their role at Abu Ghraib prison.

Much of what happened at Abu Ghraib is known through photo’s taken by MP’s, prisoner testimony, and former contractors. Iraqi’s were routinely beaten, terrorized, and humiliated by US personnel. Many were stripped naked, sexually shamed or assaulted, and held in painful or disturbing stress positions for long periods of time. Abuses committed by a group of MP’s occurred in addition to interrogations conducted by other personnel, including CACI. This frightening chapter of the occupation ended with enlisted military police—not contracted interrogators—facing the bulk of public condemnation and punishment.

A lesser known company, Giant Oak Inc, also contracts with ICE for a total of $6,000,000. One of its more interesting contracts, for “open source social media analytics”, actually is set for renewal August 31st, 2018. Giant Oak Inc. didn’t respond to TFC Network requests for comment. Thus, specifics on these social media operations are unclear.

Then there’s Integral Consulting Services, earning more than over $ 2, 000, 000 for simply “intelligence analysis”. ICS, like Giant Oak, gathers “open source intelligence” for analysis. According to its website, ICS also won a contract in late 2017 related to the ICE tip line.

These are just some of the dozens of individual winners of ICE contracts. It all begs questioning whether the current boost in ICE operations under President Donald Trump would be possible without these various contractors. The private sector is profiting from every aspect of immigration apprehension and detention, at every level. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it would seem, is big business.