August 18, 2019

SOME OF THE BEST-RUN MEDIUM-TERM IMMIGRATION DETENTION FACILITIES ARE PRIVATE: I’ve toured both a public and a privately-run medium-term* facility (and reported on them here). The private one was significantly nicer. I’ve also spoken to a federal official whose job it was to inspect both types. He told me that facilities dedicated to immigration detention tend to be well-run, whether public or private. It’s jails and prisons that do immigration detention as a sideline that tend to have problems, because they are not familiar with the special rules that apply to immigration detention. Yet a vastly disproportionate share of the energies of those who object to the conditions at detention facilities is aimed at privately-run facilities in particular.

This is true when the Left objects to conditions at regular jails and prisons too. It is apparently driven in significant part by unions that object to the lower wages at private prisons.

*I claim no familiarity with the holding tanks at which illegal immigrants are initially held, sometimes for a day or two, after being initially picked up. I have never visited one. The detainees I talked to had no complaints concerning the longer-term facilities I toured, but some did complain about the place they were initially taken. The most common complaint was that they were too cold.

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