In the 10 states where the companies' committees and employees contributed the most, the AP found they also spent at least $8 million more lobbying local officials in the last five years alone. It is impossible to know how much of this lobbying money was aimed only at immigrant-related contracts. But that money generally went to states along the border, such as Florida and Texas, which have high numbers of immigrants, as well as states such as Georgia and Louisiana, where large numbers of immigrants also are detained.
ICE has begun providing more oversight as part of the Obama administration's pledge to overhaul the nation's system for jailing immigration offenders. It recently scrapped plans for CCA to build a 1,500-bed immigrant detention center in a high-end Miami suburb following months of local protests, and is also looking for a new home for a detention facility once slated for the suburbs of Chicago, after local officials voted in June to block the project from going forward.
But it remains committed to adding more private beds. Plans are on track to build or expand private immigration jails in Newark, N.J., and along a lonely stretch of California's Mojave Desert.
Burke reported from San Francisco.
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