White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) on Friday announced she would ban private detention centers if elected president.
In a Medium post, Warren called for the abolition of private prisons and private immigration facilities “by ending all contracts that the Bureau of Prisons and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] have with private detention providers.”
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The announcement comes on the eve of her participation in the National Association of Latino Elected Officials annual conference in Miami, where she’ll appear alongside fellow Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellNASCAR bans display of Confederate flag from events and properties Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Grenell says intelligence community working to declassify Flynn-Kislyak transcripts MORE (D-Calif.), former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas), former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGun control group rolls out first round of Senate endorsements The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ Hickenlooper ethics questions open him up to attack MORE, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE.
In her proposal, Warren painted a picture of private detention facilities rife with corruption, mistreatment of inmates and support from lobbying efforts in Washington.
“We didn’t get here by chance. Washington works hand-in-hand with private prison companies, who spend millions on lobbyists, campaign contributions, and revolving-door hires — all to turn our criminal and immigration policies into ones that prioritize making them rich instead of keeping us safe,” she wrote.
In November, Warren led a group of Democratic senators in demanding transparency from private prison operators.
Warren on Friday credited former President Obama with taking measures to wind down reliance on private prisons, but “these companies got their biggest break yet when Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE landed in the White House.”
“With Trump, private prison companies saw their chance to run the same playbook for our immigration system,” she wrote.
According to an analysis of federal data by The New York Times, the number of minors in detention grew threefold from 2017 to 2018, due in part to the influx of migrants at the southern border but also because federal authorities have released fewer migrant minors to family care.
Warren accused the private prison system of abuses ranging from forced labor to price-gouging at commissaries, as well as violations of federal prison regulations like holding people in solitary confinement to make space for more inmates.
“This is exploitation, plain and simple. Our criminal and immigration systems are tearing apart communities of color and devastating the poor, including children,” she wrote.
For-profit detention is a major issue for communities of color, particularly those where mixed immigration status is common.
Warren’s announcement ahead of the conference in Miami comes as a new Quinnipiac poll shows her among a handful of Democratic contenders who are competitive against Trump in Florida, a key 2020 battleground.
Warren’s campaign focus on releasing policy proposals on a variety of issues has so far proven effective, as she’s risen to a solid third place behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and Sanders, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.