In the United States and elsewhere, including Britain and Australia, the use of private security companies has turned the detention of unwanted immigrants into a multinational industry. Increasingly, governments are looking to private companies to expand detention and show voters that they are enforcing tougher immigration laws.
Some of the companies are huge — one is among the largest private employers in the world — and they say they are meeting demand faster and less expensively than the public sector could.
But the ballooning of privatized detention has been accompanied by scathing inspection reports, lawsuits and the documentation of widespread abuse and neglect, sometimes lethal. Human rights groups say detention has neither worked as a deterrent nor speeded deportation, as governments contend, and some worry about the creation of a “detention-industrial complex” with a momentum of its own.
Private companies now control nearly half of all detention beds in the United States. In Britain, 7 of 11 detention centers and most short-term holding places for immigrants are run by for-profit contractors.
No country has more completely outsourced immigration enforcement, with more troubled results, than Australia. Under unusually severe mandatory detention laws, the system has been run by a succession of three publicly traded companies since 1998.
That is from this comprehensive analysis in the NYT on immigration and emigration, the subtitle is "Privately Run Immigration Detention System," a good example of unproductive entrepreneurship.