While outraged Americans across the country are calling their elected representatives and taking to the streets to protest the Trump administration’s forcible separation of parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, intelligence and defense contractors are raking in millions thanks to the cruel practice.
According to reporting by the Daily Beast, the intelligence contractor MVM, Inc. won an $8 million five-year contract to “provide assistance” in detention centers for unaccompanied children, and has made $42.9 million in less than a year, transporting minors to centers in Texas.
Such facilities have become crowded with children in recent months, especially following the administration’s unveiling of its new “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented immigrants who cross the southern border seeking asylum—under which adults are imprisoned while they await immigration trials and any children traveling with them are sent off to detention centers, sometimes thousands of miles away.
Previously, MVM worked with the CIA in the Iraq War, during which its employees were accused of “procuring and possessing unauthorized weapons and explosives.” The company has also faced accusations of discrimination against employees who were Muslim and African-born.
“I’m guessing that in [MVM's] mission statement, one of the central components isn’t the care of refugee children,” immigration attorney Matthew Kolken told the Daily Beast. “It is mind-blowing that those types of industries would be even considered with respect to the care of children. They’re not equipped to be able to do it. Would you want your child to be dropped off in their hands? I know I wouldn’t.”
Still, MVM as well as the defense contractor General Dynamics are rapidly hiring new employees to oversee the dozens of detention centers for children who have been taken from their parents or guardians after crossing the border.
Recently-advertised positions include compliance coordinators tasked with overseeing detention centers, youth care workers, and bilingual transport specialists.
One of the contractors providing services to children in tents/camps along the Texas border—Let them know this is unacceptable
Phone: (571)223-4500 https://t.co/vJUwkm3bek
—Heather Buen (@heatherkbuen) June 15, 2018
“It looks right now that the Trump administration’s policies regarding immigration [are] proving to be a relatively lucrative area for private contractors,” Neil Gordon, an investigator with the Project on Government Oversight, told the Daily Beast.
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Julia Conley is a Common Dreams staff writer.