WASHINGTON, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 25th Nov, 2016 ) - Donald Trump's White House triumph this month caught the business world by surprise but also breathed life into a little-understood US industry: private prisons and migrant detention centers. Following the Republican's election, shares in two of the sector's major players, CoreCivic (formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America) and the GEO Group have skyrocketed 43 percent and 21 percent, respectively, after having languished in recent months.
In August, the US Justice Department left them reeling after announcing it would phase out the use of private prisons, even though there were only about a dozen privately run correctional facilities at the Federal level. During her presidential campaign, Democrat Hillary Clinton seemed set to continue this policy, saying in particular that "you have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans." Private prisons currently house just a fraction, or about 0.
5 percent, of the total US inmate population of 2.2 million. But Trump's November 8 victory upended the outlook and investor sentiment as well. The billionaire clinched the White House with an aggressive law and order message, promising at one point to deport all 11 million of the country's undocumented immigrants -- a move that could swell the population of migrant detainees. In the United States, migrant detention centers are overwhelmingly managed by private companies, CoreCivic and the GEO Group in particular, under the oversight of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
As a result, Trump's vow to deport or incarcerate two to three million undocumented immigrants right after taking office in January could be a boon to the sector. "It will lead to a huge increase in the number of immigrant detentions," said Bethany Carson of the GrassRoots Leadership, an activist group that opposes mass incarceration.