Arizona senator Russell Pearce had a problem. There were too many illegal immigrants running around in his town and he wasn't having any. So, he went to his little clubhouse of buddies. The club has a name; American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC for those in the know. ALEC is comprised of Arizona state legislators and powerful corporations. "Lawmakers, meet money guys. Money guys, say hello to malleable lawmakers." As handshakes move around the room Exxon Mobile cats say hello to National Rifle Association fellas. And NRA fellas greet Corrections Corporation of America guys, the largest private prison company in the country.
The ALEC boys listen to their brother ALEC member, senator Russell Pearce with deep concern. Brows are furrowed. Sighs escape turned down mouths. A discussion spreads through the room until a plan is hatched. And then a bill is drafted. I am of course referring to the controversial Arizona immigration bill which allows law enforcement to question suspicious looking brown people. The ALEC members of the prison board not only felt sorry for the troubled senator they also saw an opportunity. Remember, they are the money guys. Why else would they be in the room? They saw that there was a new commodity in town and that brown people were it!
In the 70's, 80's, 90's and so on many politicians, activists and regular folk cried foul at the proportion of black and brown people versus white people in prisons and jails. Often the person pointing out the lopsided phenomena was either ignored or labeled a conspiracy theorist. Well there ain't no ignoring nor is there a THEORY of conspiracy at play here in 2010. High level members at the Corrections Corporation of America have gone on record as saying "Immigrant detention is going to be our next big market." And why not? Detaining people is a billion dollar industry and they aim to keep it that way, and the only way to do that is to lock em' up baby!
Next, the private prison guys needed some brown people wranglers-someone to round up these people. Without detainees, no more prison building, meaning no more federal reserve notes (CASH). "Ah ha we'll get those ICE guys to do it, they love that shit," someone exclaimed. ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 'Phew, we've got our wranglers' they must have exhaled. They were good to go. Almost. It was looking as though only the 'money guys' stood to be 'in the money', so to speak. What about poor senator Pearce and his co-worker buddies? Oh yes, I almost forgot. Several of the legislators who voted for the bill were paid by the private prison companies or their lobbyists. Alas, ladies and gentlemen with all of the cash and players in play we have the perfect storm.
The kicker to this shindig that makes this fiendish plot the bees knees is that when ALEC members gather (money and power) and write bills and spread the wealth to themselves by pinning brown folk beneath their steel toed boots and tossing them into shiny new cells, the whole shootin' match is perfectly legal. How do ya like them apples America?