AirTalk for October 28, 2010

Did prison economics help muscle through Arizona’s immigration law?

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John Moore/Getty Images

Immigrants sit in their housing cell in the women's wing of the detention facility for illegal immigrants on July 30, 2010 in Eloy, Arizona. Arizona, which deports and returns more illegal immigrants than any other state, is currently appealing a judge's ruling suspending controversial provisions of Arizona's immigration enforcement law SB 1070.

State Sen. Russell Pearce was instrumental in drafting SB-1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, which gave police new immigration enforcement powers. While the constitutionality of the law is being decided in the courts, NPR spent the last few months looking at another aspect: who backed the bill and how it was first created. They found that private prison contractors, such as the Corrections Corporation of America, saw an opportunity to increase profits and were instrumental in drafting and pushing through the bill. Lots of companies lobby for things that increase profits. But when it comes to legislation intended to incarcerate people, does that cross a line?

Guests:

Laura Sullivan, reporter with NPR working on the investigation

Russell Pearce, Arizona State Senator; sponsor of anti-illegal immigration bill SB 1070


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