Richard Vogel / AP
The Trump government's immigration policy has been condemned, but there has also been increasing criticism of a network of companies that are part of the billion dollar industry that has tens of thousands of migrants in detention centers.  Enterprises providing goods and services in support of these detention centers are increasingly subject to public and political scrutiny by investors, staff and activists.
Last week, Wayfair employees protested after an employee found that the Boston-based company was supplying bedroom furniture to An institution housing immigrant children seeking asylum.
Bank of America announced that following similar statements by JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, it would stop funding private prisons and detention centers. Such lending is crucial to the construction and extension of prisons, although the industry has many other options. SunTrust, Barclays, BNP Paribas and other smaller regional banks have not cut their links with industry.
After American Airlines found out that migrant children separated from their families were transported by road Last year, the airline and other airlines asked the government to shut down their aircraft no longer use this purpose.
The affair has also attracted the attention of Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, who have pledged to demolish an industry. They say they have created financial incentives to imprison more prisoners and migrants.
Activists say they welcome the limelight in this industry "Involvement in immigration has severely damaged the [their] brand," said David Fathi, director of the National Prison Project of the ACLU.
At the same time, there is very little public information about which companies make money in providing goods and services to prisons, mainly because government contracts are widespread, Byzantine and little public disclosure.
The detention system for migrants themselves is complex. Different federal agencies manage different programs. For example, people who are caught trying to cross the border will be held at short notice in customs and border guards. CBP relies heavily on prison systems of municipalities and counties, which in turn use their own contractors to operate the facilities.
Migrant children are detained in a separate system overseen by the Ministry of Health and Human Services. HHS contracts with Caliburn International, hit in one of its homestead, Florida centers, due to poor conditions.
The majority of detained migrants are in longer-term centers administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Currently around 52,000 migrants are held in ICE detention. A majority of them – 71% according to the National Immigrant Justice Center – are housed in facilities operated by private prison companies.
Two of them – GEO Group and CoreCivic – have contracts to operate the lion's share of the ICE's detention facilities. But others, including the Utah-based Management and Training Corp., and about a dozen other smaller companies are doing similar work. These companies in turn outsource subcontracts to many other companies in a variety of industries, from food to medical services. Neither GEO nor CoreCivic have publicly reported a list of subcontractors.
The GEO Group has not responded to requests for comments. CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist said the company relied on multiple vendors in each facility, but did not respond to requests for data on these vendors. "For obvious reasons of competition, details of our company's contractors are generally not explained," she said.
Immigrant activists said such secrecy has allowed the detention industry to grow with little control.
"If there is a passage between each component of the ICE detention system, it is an opacity – it is a deliberate lack of transparency," said Political Director Heidi Altman at the National Immigrant Justice Center.
CoreCivic and the GEO Group together generated $ 4.1 billion in sales last year. About a quarter of these were in prison. Both companies are struggling with increasing competition and declines in their prison operations, which has been offset by growth in the detention business.
Many activists say that seeking revenue in the industry has helped drive today's immigration policy.
"Why We are in a difficult position, partly due to investment," said Bianca Tylek, Executive Director of Worth Rises, an organization against the privatization of prisons and detention centers.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political donations, CoreCivic and GEO Group 2018 spent $ 1.6 million and $ 2.8 million on political spending, respectively Donations and lobbying.
The Fathers of the ACLU The expansion of the incarceration of migrants in recent years has been driven by private companies and not by the federal government.
"The availability of private, profit-oriented detention has allowed the administration to dramatically increase ICE detention," he said. "And I think it's safe to say that without the services of … the private prison industry, that would not have been possible."
CoreCivic, for its part, said it plays no role in politics or enforcement. "CoreCivic has been working with the federal government for over 30 years to run detention centers, and we've worked with both democratic and republican authorities," company spokeswoman Gilchrist said in a statement.