Private prison companies' stocks have risen since President Donald Trump signed an executive order that called for expanding sites to detain immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The order authorized private contractors to "construct, operate, or control facilities." The Jan. 25 order called for Trump's border wall, among other plans.
Critics said stockholders and executives at private prison companies would benefit the most from the order.
An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, Carl Takei, said the order would lead to "an enormous boondoggle for the private prison industry."
"The immigration system already lacks rigorous oversight and transparency, and now there's this perfect storm — a push to rapidly expand the system, a lack of existing oversight, and the profit motive driving these companies," Takei told the Times.
Private companies provide detention for immigrants more inexpensively than federally run Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. It costs around $144 a day to house an inmate at a private prison, and it costs about $184 a day at a federally run site, the Times reported.
The facilities could lead to jobs in the areas near the border, such as in Willacy County, where a correctional center was closed in 2015.
"Everybody here wants it back because they need jobs," commissioner Eliberto "Beto" Guerra said. "It means security for a lot of families."
Conditions at the sites are a concern for critics of private prisons, the Times report said. The Willacy County prison, for example, was closed amid charges "the level of human suffering was just unbelievable," Kathleen Baldoni, a former nurse there, told Congress in 2009.
Private prison operator CoreCivic's shares have more than doubled since Trump's election, according to CBS News.
About 90 percent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees are held in private facilities, according to the CBS report.
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