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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Aisha Gomez (DFL)

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Reps. Howard, Gomez Announce Legislative Effort to Ban For-Profit ICE Detention Centers

Friday, August 23, 2019

St. Paul, Minn. – State Representatives Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield) and Aisha Gomez (DFL-Minneapolis) today announced plans to introduce legislation next session banning for-profit ICE detention centers from operating in the State of Minnesota. MPR News reported today that a private prison company in Appleton, MN is actively lobbying public officials to repurpose its facility as an immigrant detention center (“Detainees wanted: Minnesota's closed private prison eyes a deal with ICE”).


“Profiting from the detention of immigrant families is immoral, wrong, and has no place in the State of Minnesota,” said Rep. Howard. “The aggressive and expanding presence of ICE in my community and across the state is causing trauma for too many families and that will only worsen if we permit more cages to be built and operated by a for-profit company. We need to say loud and clear – not in Minnesota.”


“We should prevent private prison companies from making a profit by locking up moms, dads, and children in cages,” said Rep. Aisha Gomez. “We’ve all seen the cruel and inhumane treatment of families on our southern border, and we cannot allow it to spread to our own backyard.”


This year, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) authored legislation to ban private prisons from operating in Minnesota. Howard and Gomez said a ban on for-profit ICE detention centers is a natural extension of that important legislation. In June 2019, Illinois became the first state to pass legislation banning for-profit ICE detention centers. Reps. Howard and Gomez want Minnesota to follow suit during the 2020 session.