A few employees of GEO, wearing white shirts that bear the corporate emblem and American flag, lingered about the facility on security detail. Hiring rent-a-cops to handle the day-to-day operations of a federal detention facility isn't cheap. According to a report from the National Immigration Forum, taxpayers drop $164 each day per detainee. A that rate, it costs just shy of $42 million to run BTC at maximum occupancy for one year. The report says that, nationally, the number of detainees held in ICE facilities nearly doubled in a decade, from 209,000 in 2001 to 392,000 in 2010.

"If ICE detained only people who were serious threats, the estimated savings would top $1 billion," says Barciela.

The private prison industry is making huge profits. GEO, which is contracted to operate at least seven facilities on behalf of ICE, reported a net income of $78 million for fiscal 2011 on revenue of $1.6 billion. Halfway through 2012, the company had netted $38 million in profit on revenue of more than $800 million.


Immigration activist Viridiana Martinez infiltrated the detention center, but was released after contacting news outlets about the conditions inside.
Monica McGivern
Immigration activist Viridiana Martinez infiltrated the detention center, but was released after contacting news outlets about the conditions inside.
The family of Samuel Resendiz-Lopez is fighting against his upcoming deportation.
Monica McGivern
The family of Samuel Resendiz-Lopez is fighting against his upcoming deportation.

Rex Ford has been an immigration judge since 1993 and presides over the courtroom at Broward Transitional Center. From pictures of Palm Beach society events, it's clear that Ford is a hefty bald man with a graying mustache.

A request to interview Ford was declined.

In May 2009, the New York Times came across transcripts from the hearing of Xiu Ping Jiang, an undocumented waitress from China who had been apprehended in West Palm Beach "on suspicion that she was in the country without a visa," according to the article. She had attempted suicide on numerous occasions and was, allegedly, forcibly sterilized in China — one of the reasons she fled the country.

Ford repeatedly scolded Xiu, who didn't have an attorney at her hearing and barely spoke English, for answering his questions before the court interpreter had a chance to translate them. "Ma'am, we're going to do this one more time, and then I'm going to treat you as though you were not here," Ford said.

Even though she was standing directly in front of him and answering his questions, Ford said, "The respondent, after proper notice, has failed to appear." He then ordered her to be deported to China. Jiang responded by wailing, "I'm going to die now." It's unclear what ultimately happened to her.

Ford is arguably the most hard-line immigration judge in the country. From 2006 through 2011, he denied 93.3 percent of the 460 asylum claims that came before him. Only three other judges in the country denied asylum seekers at a higher rate, according to Syracuse University records.

Between April 1, 1997, and May 21, 2010, Ford also approved at least 9,642 stipulated orders of removal, the most of any immigration judge in the country, according to a report from Stanford University and the National Immigration Law Center. Stipulated removals are orders through which the person detained waives his or her right to appear before a judge and moves directly to deportation.

The report said government officials manipulate detainees into accepting these deals by giving them "inaccurate, misleading, and confusing information about the law and removal process. For example, government agents overemphasized the length of time detainees would spend in detention if they chose to fight their cases and see a judge, yet failed to tell detainees that they could secure release from detention on bond while fighting their cases, or that some might win the right to remain legally in the country."

Karen Tumlin, an attorney who coauthored the report, says other judges have at least brought detainees in for hearings to ensure they understand the agreement. A few judges have even expressed concern that stipulated removals don't jibe with due-process clauses in the U.S. Constitution. Two court cases are working their way through circuit courts that challenge the government's reliance on this practice.

"A large portion of the overall number of stipulated removals are coming from one judge," Tumlin says, referring to Ford.


Henry speaks quickly and nervously in broken English over a phone line that's monitored. He's a 35-year-old father of two with jet-black hair who came to Florida 12 years ago from Honduras. Public records show he has two misdemeanor traffic violations in Manatee County.

In March, Henry got a strange phone call from a woman who wanted to know if he was interested in selling his car. His curiosity piqued, he agreed to meet her in the parking lot of a grocery store on a Friday evening.

When Henry arrived, he says, there was no buyer, only federal agents. They took him into custody. Off to BTC he went.

Henry kept his head down and says he rarely spoke to other detainees who cycled in and out of his room. Four months into detention, on July 15, Henry woke up around 5:40 a.m., stripped down in the bathroom, and turned on the shower.

"Somebody from outside turned off the lights," Henry says. Before he could react, he was slammed against the wall. "They told me [in Spanish], 'Don't move or I'm going to hurt you.'"

Seconds later, he felt something penetrate his anus, then recede. It happened again. On the third time, the assailant drove a foreign object deep into Henry's ass and fled the bathroom.

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15 comments
palmbeachnotary
palmbeachnotary

I know one of these people and he isn't some innocent little construction worker. He "rents" out other Hispanics taking $3 + off each hour that each works and keeps it for hisself plus using fraudulent insurance he pays to "work under" ....nice right...as long as noone gets hurt... And do u think paying someone to pass you through the driver license process and not check your immigration status is okay??? It is illegal. Period. When I ... A US Citizen do ANYTHING with the government agencies I have to prove who I am or I don't get what I need...so screw the pity party...this jerk even balked at the US Gov showing Pics of his ankle bracelet on his Facebook ...take your tail home if you don't like it!!!!!!

fall9
fall9

I really don't see the activist part of this. If you're here illegally, there are certain steps you have to go through to go back to where you came from. The offender (person(s) that broke the law/illegal immigrant; whatever you want to call them. Do not get a vote, say so about how our country handles the matter. If it's uncomfortable. Good. It isn't intended to be Club Med. or a vacation. It's intent to process, from start to finish is to deter repeat offenders. There is a process to enter this country LEGALLY. Just because it's been done by millions illegally doesn't mean it's the smart thing to continue to do so. Record numbers have been deported this year, and I expect that number is only going to continue to rise. The unfortunate collateral damage in all this are the children of illegal's born on American soil. Those "anchor babies" as they've been referred to, are US citizens. Their illegal parents, are not. Their parent's used them, essentially and now it's backfired on those that have been deported and their children placed in foster care. Something that should have been thought about had American put it's foot down.  Bottom line? Don't blame the USA. Take responsiblity for your own actions if you're one of the deported. Come here legally. It's been done. I know. Don't take the path of least resistance. You may not be the only people that suffer. Activists my @$$.  Abide by laws. Don't expect them bent to your whims. No one else does. 

Shanghai6969
Shanghai6969

Such abuses and policy solutions are highlighed in my book by an immigration judge:

My Trials: Inside America’s Deportation Factories  | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0054S7G0U

American Immigration Lawyers Association wrote: “With a cast of colorful characters and compelling tales, My Trials: What I Learned in Immigration Court is both a scathing indictment of a broken immigration system that sends vulnerable immigrants back to the perilous situations from which they fled, and a heartfelt call for a return to the values upon which our nation of immigrants was founded.”  VOICE magazine September-October issue

Paperback edition:  https://www.createspace.com/3850094

theunbegun
theunbegun like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

So when Cubans enter the country illegally they're labeled as "refugees" but then the Mexicans, e.t.c enter the country illegally they're labeled as "illegal aliens".

 

You gotta love the double standard.

peterperez1976
peterperez1976

 @theunbegun

 The difference is there is no persecution in Mexico for your political views or religious and basically Mexico has all freedoms the US has , Cuba doesn't.

fall9
fall9

 @theunbegun I suggest you read some history before making such an asinine statement.  How can you compare the two?  Seriously? 

robinked
robinked like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

These are Not 'Activists'....these are 2 people with an Agenda...An ILLEGAL Agenda...!!!--Why is the Lame Steam Media so enamoured with a Pack of ILLEGAL Invaders & completely Silent in regards to the Majority of Taxpaying, LawAbiding Citizens that are  constantly being Raped & Stolen from by these Invaders....???!!!!!!!!---There IS a Right Way to Immigrate to this Country....Millions have taken that Path & I suggest that these so-called 'activists' can spend their time more productively trying to Educate the ILLEGAL population as to the Right Way of doing things rather than constantly Demanding More Freebies from the Taxpayer AND Demanding that Latinas should get a Pass on ILLEGAL immigration........Sheesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

shesays
shesays like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great piece. Too bad there aren't any thought inducing arguments or enlightening comments, just racism. Laws don't equal morality and human rights are for all, not some. I am sorry, though, for all the American citizens waiting, hoping, wishing for a job in the arrid fields or in the shady corners of home depot and are unable to get one because of those damn undocumented immigrants. Especially the ones from Mexico- right cubanogm?

cubanogm
cubanogm like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

What I just said was what Mexico did to me and the USA gave me asylum due to my political association that put me under a death sentence by a cruel and despotic Government.This 52 years ago but I never came illegally nor would I have done it.I have no compassion for illegal aliens specially from Mexico.Arrest them all illegal aliens and deport them asap.

ivxx
ivxx like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @cubanogm typical cuban racism, even if u weren't a "political refugee" you would've eventually fled, the only thing keeping u from being an illegal immigrant is the fact that you are cuban... and it's sad, because i'm cuban myself. But for too long i've sat by and listened to these racist "exiles" who immigrated to this country and openly took all the help they were offered in order to build a life for themselves. Now that they're established, they want to shut the door they walked through to anyone else trying to come through the same way. I hear my friend's fathers and grandfathers talk about people on welfare, forgetting they too were once on welfare. They too were once at the bottom, they too abandoned everything they knew for a chance to be happy and free. What job have you ever lost to an undocumented immigrant?

fall9
fall9

 @ivxx  @cubanogm I personally have never met any Cuban's that were racists. That's absurd. 

cubanogm
cubanogm like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Illegal aliens are criminals by just being here illegally.They are breaking USA immigration laws.So they should be arrested and deported.That is what every country in the world does and that includes Mexico and Colombia and Venezuela,etc,etc,etc....So the USA should do the same.It is the proper and fair thing to do for people that are citizens and need a job that now is being held by an illegal alien.It is jusr as simple as that.

sieandme
sieandme like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

"Undocumented and Unafraid,". And that is the problem. Our laws should be so strong and punishing, that they deter the illegal entry into our Country. I understand some feel we should have "OPEN" borders and just allow all those who wish to migrate here to do so freely. I don't understand those who feel persons who have entered our Country illegally should be rewarded a "Green Card". This is not how you deter one from entereing our Nation illegally. It is how you encourage it.

wigglwagon
wigglwagon like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

"The concept of due process is held dear as a central piece of the American justice system. Anyone prosecuted under the criminal code has the right to know the charges against him, to be tried in public by a jury of his peers, and to be appointed a lawyer if he cannot afford one."

 

Embezzlers are not allowed to keep on embezzling until their day in court. Why are criminal immigrants allowed to keep practicing their crimes? Just letting them out on bail is like leaving embezzlers on the job with access to steal even more. Illegal immigrants should have to await their day in court in their own country.

 

fall9
fall9

 @wigglwagon Seriously?  If you're here illegally and being detained by or held over for ICE, you damn well know what you're being charged with/held for.  No brainer.

 
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