Sunday, September 26, 2021


New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.


The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Executive Order Leaves Immigrants in Private Prisons


Wednesday, February 10, 2021   

NEW YORK -- Immigrant advocates say President Joe Biden's executive order to end the use of private prisons is an important first step, but more needs to be done.

The executive order, issued during the first week of Biden's presidency, directs the Department of Justice not to renew its contracts with corporations operating the privately run prisons that house about 16% of the federal prison population.

Basma Eid, national programs manager for the group Freedom to Thrive, argued it does not apply to contracts under Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which held an average of 50,000 undocumented immigrants in detention every day in fiscal year 2019, 80% of them in privately owned or managed prisons.

"While this executive order does take a step toward abolishing the use of for-profit prisons, it really doesn't speak to the number of immigrants who are detained in these privately run facilities," Eid contended.

During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to end the federal use of private prisons, including for the detention of undocumented immigrants.

The COVID pandemic added another layer of urgency to the need to end the mass detention of immigrants.

Eid pointed out infections are extremely difficult to control in congregate settings including in detention facilities.

"There's been numbers of outbreaks that have happened across the country," Eid observed. "And instead of releasing people and protecting them and letting them be home with their families and their communities, people are risking their lives every day inside."

In November, at least five people detained at a privately run ICE detention facility in New Jersey tested positive for COVID-19.

Eid noted the Obama administration had issued an executive order to curtail federal use of private prisons, but it also did not address immigration detentions and it was quickly overturned by the Trump administration.

"These executive orders can only last as long as that executive is in power, and so four years from now, depending on who is in the White House, can really dictate how impactful these orders really will be," Eid cautioned.

She concluded detention of undocumented immigrants can be ended by abolishing ICE and adopting comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship.

Disclosure: Freedom to Thrive contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Immigrant Issues, LGBTQIA Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The climate resilience package includes $1.5 billion for measures to better defend the state against wildfires. (Peter Buschmann/U.S. Forest Service)


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …

Social Issues

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …

Social Issues

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…

According to the World Health Organization, about one in six people age 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …


SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…

Arkansas farmers produce more than 9 billion pounds of rice each year. (Adobe Stock)


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …

Social Issues

SANTA FE, N.M. -- A New Mexico legislator is optimistic a bill will pass in the 2022 session to prohibit life sentences for juveniles convicted of …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021