State Watch

Private prison firm sues California over ban on for-profit facilities

Prison fence
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Private prison firm the GEO Group on Monday sued the state of California over a bill signed in October that banned for-profit prisons in the state, according to The Associated Press.

In its lawsuit, the company, which was recently awarded multibillion-dollar contracts to oversee federal immigration detention facilities in the Golden State, asked a federal court to permanently enjoin the law, arguing it encroached on the federal government’s authority.

“There is a longstanding and clear-cut constitutional principle that individual states cannot regulate the actions and activities of the federal government,” the company said.

Assembly Bill 32, set to take effect on Jan. 1, bars the use of private immigration detention centers and the renewal of contracts with operators of private prisons. In the lawsuit, the Boca Raton, Fla.,-based company said it would affect at least 10 private facilities in the state, including seven managed by GEO.

The lawsuit names both California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who signed the bill into law in October, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D).

All four Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers in California are run by private firms, including two in Adelanto and Bakersfield, which the GEO Group recently won two contracts worth more than $3.7 billion to run. The other two are in San Diego and Calexico. ICE has denied the contracts are subject to the state law.

The Hill has reached out to Becerra’s and Newsom’s offices for comment.

Tags Gavin Newsom Xavier Becerra

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