Bank of America to Cut Ties with Companies That Run Migrant-Detention Facilities

US
A Bank of America logo in New York City (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

Bank of America will no longer do business with private-prison companies and companies that are contracted by the government to detain migrants near the southern border.

“We have decided to exit the relationship’’ Bank of America vice chairman Anne Finucane told Bloomberg on Wednesday. “We’ve done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we’ve made.’’

The announcement comes after the Miami Herald revealed in May that Bank of America is the chief financier of Caliburn, a company contracted by the government to operate the Homestead Detention Facility. Bank of America had provided Caliburn a $380 million loan and a $75 million line of credit, according to the Herald.

Bank of America joins other major banks such as Chase and Wells Fargo in shunning the private-prison industry in response to activist pressure.

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The move comes amid increased public scrutiny of the inhumane conditions that migrant children are being exposed to due to lack of resources at federal detention facilities.

Critics of the administration’s immigration-enforcement policy have highlighted the subpar conditions at the Homestead facility, which is the largest such child-detention facility and houses 2,300 13- to 17-year-olds who were transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services after being apprehended at the border.

Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota visited Homestead separately on Wednesday but were denied entry because they did not schedule their visits.

“There weren’t children playing. There weren’t children laughing the way children usually do when they’re moving from one place to another,” Warren told a crowd gathered outside the facility. “These were children who were being marched like little soldiers ― like little prisoners ― from one place to another. This is not what we should be doing as a country.”

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