Alabama's harsh anti-immigrant laws that send both legal and illegal immigrants fleeing. The obvious and expected result is that there is a huge shortage of workers for farms. But wait! Many if not most of the Latinos arrested - falsely or correctly - on immigration charges can be handed over to private prisons. Those prisons can, in turn, hand over the inmates to the farms where they can work at an even lower wage.
- Enact harsh laws against one class of people.
- Arrest large numbers of people in the class.
- Create an artificial labor shortage with those laws.
- Hand over the prisoners to private, for-profit prison.
- Solve the labor "shortage" with the new inmates.
Not only will this law supply fresh inmates to private detention centers in the state – like the one operated in Decatur by LCS correctional corporation – but it will also feed an already bloated national private prison system controlled by two major corporations, CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and the GEO group, which have a combined profit of more than $5bn a year. CCA, for example, runs the largest facility in the nation in neighboring Georgia and may potentially take a good portion of the detainees in Alabama. Charging $200 a night, this is an opportunity they'll jump at.
The difference between Alabama and adjoining states is that it is willing to go further down this track. Recently, John McMillan, agriculture commissioner, proposed that the farm work left behind by immigrant workers be supplied with inmate labor. Decatur, a private detention center about 50 miles to the north-west of Alabama, which had been unable to find jobs for inmates, has now witnessed record numbers of requests for labor (for an estimated 150 detainees a day).
So, here is how it goes. First, the state passes a harsh immigration law. Then, it detains large numbers of immigrants. Third, private prisons (LCS, CCA, GEO) receive fresh inmates. And finally, the artificially created labor shortage is supplied by the new inmates. Does this sound like modern-day slavery to anyone?
Yes, it is modern day slavery - and it's probably no coincidence that it's occurring in Alabama.