Former ICE official who compared family jails to summer camp lands job with private prison profiteer

Former ICE official who compared family jails to summer camp lands job with private prison profiteer

July 29, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

When the previous administration was in the midst of public backlash over its horrific family separation policy that kidnapped thousands of children from their parents with no plan to put them back together, Albence dared to compare ICE’s migrant family jails to summer camps.” But when pressed on his ridiculous and offensive claim and asked by lawmakers under oath (including by then-Senator Kamala Harris) if he’d send his own kids to one of these so-called “summer camps,” he refused to answer directly.

 ”Again, I think we’re—we’re missing the point,” Mr. Summer Camp told Sen. Mazie Hirono. So no, he wouldn’t. At a second hearing, Albence again refused to answer when Harris posed a similar question, responding: “That question’s not applicable.” So, another “nope, I wouldn’t.”

Albence also defended the mass workplace raids that devastated hundreds of food plant workers in Mississippi back in 2019. When NBC News reporter Gabe Gutierrez tried to show Albence a heart-wrenching video of a crying child who’d been separated from her dad, he initially refused to watch and looked away. The girl and her dad would not be reunited for months. CNN reported at the time that ICE’s actions left the family struggling financially. “He wants to work in construction, but he says jobs are scarce because it is starting to get cold.” 

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But at the same time, former officials like Albence going into the private prison business seems like a good fit. Not everyone has that certain sociopathic disregard for migrants (and others detained by private prison profiteers) that it takes to make a living in this manner. “This comes as no surprise to anyone who works on immigration detention,” reacted Detention Watch Network Executive Director Silky Shah. “There is a revolving door between ICE and The GEO Group, and there has been for years.”

Shah pointed to a 2016 report from the organization noting three top ICE officials that had gone on to positions at GEO Group and CoreCivic or related boards. In 2019, Mother Jones reported on former ICE official Scott Sutterfield moving to LaSalle Corrections, another private prison company. The report said that when Sutterfield was at ICE, he helped detention explode in the south. “Between February and August, ICE started using eight new for-profit detention centers in Louisiana and Mississippi.” Six of those were operated by, you guessed it, LaSalle.

A CoreCivic facility has been under scrutiny in recent weeks, following allegations of sexual abuse at a facility in Georgia. “The complaint, which details abuse that took place from July 2021 to January 2022, includes reports from women who say a male nurse sexually assaulted them while they sought medical care at the facility,” organizations said. They said that while the nurse was temporarily moved, he was eventually brought back to the general population. He’s still there.

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