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CCA Still Betting on Increasing ICE Detention in New Presidential Administration

I just read the Corrections Corporation of America Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call transcript (one can listen to the call online here). While Texas prisons didn't specifically come up in the call, I found several statements by CCA chiefs enlightening.

When asked by an investment analyst representing Avondale Partners what a change in immigration policy in a new McCain or Obama administration might mean for company's interests, CEO John Ferguson answered with this statement:

When it comes to the two candidates I am not sure that to be a great deal of difference then go back to because if you member back in April a year ago when there was an attempt to try to have some kind of comprehensive plan. The plan that was structured and was being considered was in fact support by Bush. So I think Congress is probably going to have more to do with driving the public policy. Then whoever is the new President and as I remember, I think McCain was supported of the compromising some way. So, I don't know about Obama but I am sure he is supporting those some of the comprehensive approach.

They are saying, that we tried to evaluate, when then was what affect would it have and one of the interesting thing was that, compromise was going to benefit those who had not, entered the United States illegally after January 1, 2007. So, if you had entered the country illegally from January 1, 2007 going forward then you would not benefit from the compromise.

So, one of the first thing we do, was to check and see how many of the 6,000 did it take of inmates that we have that have done that and I think we identified 750 would have benefited from the legislation. So what happens is that there are some who will continue to have the attempt to secure the borders, which means that, there will still be folks trying to enter the country illegally after, whatever compromises pass and those will need to be detained.

And then if you remember, we talk about that lots of different sources of illegals that would be dealt with, there was to be the requirement of maybe returning to Mexico or other country. If that happened, then we would make… could make criminals or folks that are here in a different ways than just being here legally. Based on that there was… they are also numerous folks that are here with criminal records. A lot of the inmates that we receive in our Arizona facilities for example, I guess all of our facilities or people who are being released from either the state, federal or local corrections systems.

And so, they are being released because they have committed a crime in some cases beyond just being here illegally, and their sense to let's say the inmates that we house that any of our CAR facilities, once they serve their time, then they are not releasing out in state, they are turned over to ICE, ICE then detains them and then ICE, then they go to their deportation here and they get deported. So, fair amount of the ICE detainees that we have responsibility for any day or people who have been released from serving from being [inaudible] or even being detained in a jail, before they leave.

So, there are still just lots of folks and like I said, if it's 12 million, 20 million whatever the number, there are still going to be folks that are going to be defined as being, needed to be detained, whatever the compromise is. And then you will also continue to have folks, who will still try to enter the United States and they will not be getting any benefits from the new legislation. So, it is hard to forecast other than I would say that 32,000 or 33,000 or 33,400 whatever the funding ends up being, is still not funding for a lot of beds, when you look at the needs of the ICE and border patrol.

While there's no smoking-bullet quote in Ferguson's statement, it's clear that the company is relying on no real immigration reform to continue to boost profits.