by John Grooms
Last week wasnt a good one for Arizona's unelected governor, Jan Brewer. First, a judge issued an injunction, stopping Brewers Show me your papers, Herr Immigrant law, AKA SB-1070, in its tracks. (Der Fuhrerette later said shed try to tweak the law to make it less objectionable, but she also said shed take the case all the way to the Supreme Court, so who knows?). Then, Arizona crime statistics which flatly contradict the paranoid rantings of Brewer and her followers drew a lot of media attention, including in this blog. And now, the rest of the nations media has caught on to an incredible report 10 days ago by Phoenix news station KPHO (CBS 5).
The stations report begins with Arizona hotel owners complaining that theyre losing money due to a serious drop in tourism, which they largely blame on Arizona politicians, whose election-year scare tactics and bogus stories of headless bodies in the desert and the like are frightening away tourists.
The meat of KPHOs story is an investigation that reveals close connections between the Brewer administration and Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private, for-profit prison company (2009 revenues of $1.7 billion), which currently houses illegal immigrant detainees for the federal government. The report shows that Brewers campaign chairman/policy adviser also doubles as owner of a lobbying company that lobbies for CCA; also, her deputy chief of staff is a former lobbyist for CCA and his wife currently lobbies for them. CCA stands to make a mint from increased arrests of illegal aliens, and Brewer & Co. are doing all they can to help them out.
For years, CCA has been the focus of investigations and protest by Grassroots Leadership, the Charlotte-based organizing group which was highlighted in a recent CL cover story . GLs executive director, Donna Red Wing, says that as the Arizona governor starts soliciting donations to fund the defense of SB-1070 in court, "Gov. Brewer will find a well-funded and politically strong ally in the for-profit correctional industry. If this bill goes into effect, the number of immigrant detainees in Arizona will spike, and the private prison complex is poised to meet the demand. For justice's sake, we need to have transparency around the Governor of Arizona and her ties to the private prison industry."