Private Prison Financing and Immigration

In “JPMorgan backs away from private prison finance”, David Henry and Imani Moise detail how JPMorgan has decided to stop financing major private prison operators in the face of activist protests resulting from Trump’s immigration policy. Prison finance was a small part of JPMorgan’s business and they mainly financed two private prison operators: CoreCivic Inc and GEO Group Inc. Prison companies like these own and manage private prisons and detention centers. JPMorgan claims that the decision to stop financing private prisons comes after a cost and benefit analysis of the different industries they were serving, as well as a response to protests.

Shockingly, about ⅔ of the people held by ICE are in private detention centers such as the ones run by CoreCivic Inc and Geo Group Inc. When Obama was president, he sent out an order to stop the federal use of private prisons. However, when Trump came into office, he rescinded this order and advocated for the continued use of private prisons for federal activities. With the continued federal use of private detention center for immigration and customs enforcement activities, information came to light that undocumented minors were being separated from their parents. This sparked a wave of activism against Trump’s policy and against JPMorgan and other bank’s financing of private prisons. After protests outside the apartment of JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan issued a public statement calling for the end of Trump’s policy of separating minors from their parents.

This issue speaks to the broader discussion of immigration reform. The immigration debate has frustrated and confused many. It’s incredibly important to understand the current immigration policies in our country and the direction it is going in so that we can advocate for what we personally believe in. The Trump administration has consistently shown its opposition to immigration through various acts and measures. For example, Trump has vocalized his beliefs that immigrants should be evaluated on their education level, language skills, and ability to contribute to the US economy. This ‘merit-based immigration’ is unfair to those who come to the US for higher education, more job opportunities, and for an overall better life for their families.

Beyond the case of Donald Trump’s actions against immigration, JPMorgan’s actions raise the conversation on the power of corporations and their values, alongside the power of the people. Corporations need our support to survive, and protests against them make all the difference. It is our responsibility to stay informed and to inform companies on what their consumers believe.

 

If you want to learn more about immigration legislation and policies at a federal and state level, here is a great article that serves as a general overview: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-immigration-debate-0