The private immigrant detention complex is a boom industry. Undocumented immigrants constitute the fastest growing sector of the US prison population and are detained in private detention centers and deported by private companies contracted out by the US government. As of 2010 there were 270 immigration detention centers that caged on any given day over 30,000 immigrants, at a cost of up to $200/day per bed.
The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group are the biggest private contractors of detention facilities.
Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) invests heavily in both GEO and CCA—more than $100 million in shares and $1 billion in lines of credit. WFB markets heavily to immigrants, claiming to have recruited 250,000 new accounts since 2001. WFB also controls 25% of the college student market through their “Campus Card Program”—turning a student ID into a debit card.
TIGRA’s “Divest in Detention” campaign seeks to end campus contracts with WFB and replace them with a local credit union. The WFB program currently runs in 36 major colleges and universities nationally.