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Immigration Law

Washington State Governor OKs Bill Banning For-Profit Jails

Rachel La Corte, Associated Press, Apr. 14, 2021

"One of the country’s largest for-profit, privately run immigration jails would be shut down by 2025 under a bill signed Wednesday by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.  The measure approved by the Washington Legislature bans for-profit detention centers in the state. The only facility that meets that definition is the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, a 1,575-bed immigration jail operated by the GEO Group under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  "Washington has not supported use of private prisons, and this bill continues that policy by prohibiting private detention facilities from operating in the state,” Inslee said before signing the bill.  Washington joins several states, including CaliforniaNevadaNew York and Illinois, that have passed legislation aiming to reduce, limit or ban private prison companies from operating. But Washington is only the third — following Illinois and California — to include immigration facilities as part of that ban.  “Widespread civil immigration detention is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice that currently exists in our political system,” Matt Adams, legal director at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said in an email. “The enactment of this bill is an important step towards rejecting the privatization and profiteering model of immigration detention centers that has pushed the massive expansion of immigration detention.”  The new law in Washington state, which is likely to face a legal challenge, would allow GEO to continue operating the jail until its contract with ICE expires in 2025."