Trump’s Former Chief of Staff Set to Profit Over Decision to Privatize Child Detention

WASHINGTON, D.C.Following a report that the Trump administration is privatizing the detention of children at the border who were separated from their families and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will profit off of this move, Karl Frisch, a senior advisor to Restore Public Trust, made the following statement: 

“It’s disgusting that the Trump administration knows no limits to the corruption surrounding the horrific policy that separated children from their families. Not only did this administration’s policy lead to severe trauma and abuse of children in detention, but now one of the officials who enacted this policy stands to profit. Complicit administration officials should not be able to profit from their work on this policy with more government contracts. We must end the detention now.”


AP HEADLINE: “Trump Admin Shifting To Privatize Migrant Child Detention.” [AP, 10/3/19]

Federal Government Contracted With John Kelly’s Company Caliburn To House Migrant Children. “Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly joined Caliburn’s board this spring after stepping down from decades of government service; he joined the Trump administration as Secretary of Homeland Security, where he backed the idea of taking children from their parents at the border, saying it would discourage people from trying to immigrate or seek asylum. Critics say this means Kelly now stands to financially benefit from a policy he helped create.”  [AP, 10/3/19]

Caliburn’s Business Grew As Record Numbers Of Minors Entered Government Care In The Last Two Years. “Sheltering migrant children has become a growing business for the Florida-based government contractor, as the number of minors in government custody has swollen to record levels over the past two years. More than 50 babies, toddlers and teens were closely watched on this day inside the clean, well-lit shelter surrounded by chain link fences.” [AP, 10/3/19]

Government Data Showed One In Four Migrant Children Were Housed By The Company For Which Kelly Serves On The Board. “The government doesn’t disclose the names of individual shelters, nor how many children are in each one. But confidential government data obtained by the AP shows that in June nearly one in four migrant children in government care was housed by CHS. That included more than 2,300 teens at Homestead, Florida, and more than 500 kids in shelters in Brownsville, Los Fresnos and San Benito, Texas. For each teen held at Homestead at that time, it cost taxpayers an average $775 per day.”  [AP, 10/3/19]

One Former ICE Official Disclosed ICE Brought The Idea Of Privatization To HHS, Blurring The Lines Between HHS Care And DHS Care. “Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, who until recently helped run adult custody programs at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said some former ICE staff now work at HHS, and have brought the concept of privatization as another model for detaining migrant children. He said it mirrors a similar shift that occurred with ICE’s adult immigration detention centers, where populations soared after immigrants were moved from county jails and into for-profit, private facilities. ‘The Office of Refugee Resettlement has acted like they have a kind of a shield and they don’t work with DHS. They say we are the children people, you are the enforcement people, but that is blurred now,’ Lorenzen-Strait said.”  [AP, 10/3/19]

Caliburn Went Public In 2018 With A $100 Million Stock Offering And Cited Its Relationship With The Government As An Advantage. “CHS’s business plan going forward depends on having more kids in their shelters, according to a prospectus its parent company Caliburn filed last year to go public with a $100 million stock offering. ‘In a recent shift, the U.S. federal government has started to transition to utilizing private contractors for medical and shelter maintenance,’ said the prospectus. ‘We believe that as a result of our past performance and longstanding relationship with HHS, we are positioned to be a leading provider of these services.’”  [AP, 10/3/19]

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