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GEO Group Meets at Trump’s Resort, Lobbying Appears to Pay Off With New Immigration Detention Contract

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On October 25, the Washington Post reported that private prison corporation GEO Group had moved its annual retreat to the 800-acre Trump National Doral golf resort. The company’s decision to host its retreat on a Trump property followed a year of increased lobbying and donations to the Trump campaign.

According to the Post, GEO Group’s spent $3 million last year in political lobbying and donations. “During last year’s election, a company subsidiary gave $225,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC. GEO gave an additional $250,000 to the president’s inaugural committee,” the article said. The Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint earlier this year on the questionable legality of GEO Group donating to political campaigns as a government contractor.

The increase in lobbying and donation efforts has paid off for GEO Group: “In April, [GEO] won the Trump administration’s first immigration-detention contract, a 10-year deal first proposed during President Barack Obama’s term to build and run a 1,000-bed facility in Conroe, Tex.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement-contracted facility in Conroe will detain 1,000 more individuals in the same town as Joe Corley Detention Center with a well-documented history of rights abuses, including the recent story on pregnant survivors of sexual assault denied proper medical care. The new Conroe facility is expected to generate $44 million in profit for GEO Group annually.

While the Obama administration announced it would end contracts between the Federal Bureau of Prisons and private prison corporations, GEO Group faced losing its contracts with facilities like Big Spring complex in Texas. The Trump administration reversed this decision, leading to the renewal of the Big Spring contract “where GEO has said it expects about $664 million in combined revenue over a 10-year term.” The lobbying efforts of GEO Group have attracted criticism from press and watchdogs, such as Texans for Public Justice.

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