September 28, 2011
Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit
The men showed up in a small town in Australia’s outback early last year, offering top dollar for all available lodgings. Within days, their company, Serco, was flying in recruits from as far away as London, and busing them from trailers to work 12-hour shifts as guards in a remote camp where immigrants seeking asylum are indefinitely detained.
It was just a small part of a pattern on three continents where a handful of multinational security companies have been turning crackdowns on immigration into a growing global industry.
Especially in Britain, the United States and Australia, governments of different stripes have increasingly looked to such companies to expand detention and show voters 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.
Resistance to abusive detention is growing. Here, The Woomera Detention Center, in Australia, was the scene of a detainee breakout in 2002.
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.
“They’re very good at the glossy brochure,” said Kaye Bernard, general secretary of the union of detention workers on the Australian territory of Christmas Island, where riots erupted this year between asylum seekers and guards. “On the ground, it’s almost laughable, the chaos and the inability to function.” (more…)
Filed under: Asia, Australia, Border, Britain, Economic crisis, Europe, Government Repression, Immigrants, Imperialism, Migrants, Migrants, Migrants, Prisons, U.S., Working Class | Tagged: Australia, australia governments, immigration crackdown, political crisis, profitable fear of migration, territory of christmas island, UK, USA, woomera detention center, working class divided, Xenophobia | Leave a Comment »