Posts Tagged ‘american legislative exchange council’

The crime of being positive

Posted on: April 1st, 2013 by Todd Heywood 6 Comments

In the late fall of 1988, state lawmakers and representatives from major insurance and pharmaceutical companies were hard at work addressing the looming AIDS crisis for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative-leaning think tank that produces state-based business-friendly model legislation. (more…)

‘Attrition through enforcement’ immigration policy already a reality, advocates say

Posted on: February 7th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Immigration advocates said Monday that an “attrition through enforcement” immigration strategy is nothing new, and already interferes with the daily lives of undocumented and their families, including U.S.-born children. (more…)

(VIDEO) ‘School Choice Week’ marked by endorsements from conservative groups

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by The American Independent 10 Comments

“National School Choice Week” launched its nationwide activities in New Orleans over the weekend with the participation of celebrities and elected officials and a proclamation of support by at least 25 state governors, including Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott. (more…)

TPPF calls criticisms made by Progress Texas report on ALEC ‘hyperbole’

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by Teddy Wilson No Comments

A recent report by Progress Texas claimed that the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is the “home away from home” for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The report says that “ALEC and TPPF are closely linked and regularly work hand-in-hand to promote the profits of global corporations over creating better lives for Texans.”


Right-wing think tank leaks salaries of Florida public employees via new website

Posted on: January 9th, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

The Foundation for Government Accountability logo (Photo: Facebook)

The Foundation for Government Accountability debuted a new website Monday — an online database of the salaries of Florida’s public employees:


Vigil in Waco protests immigration detention system, private prisons

Posted on: December 13th, 2011 by Teddy Wilson No Comments

In Waco, a group of activists from around the state gathered to hold a vigil in honor of International Human Rights Day. Those gathered said they were there to shed light on “the devastating impact of detention and deportation on immigrants and their families,” as well as protest the for-profit private prison system that houses many of the detained undocumented immigrants.

According to a press release by Grassroots Leadership, which works with community, labor, faith, and campus organizations throughout the South and Southwest, the vigil took place in Waco to raise awareness of the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco, a private jail operated by Community Education Centers, a for-profit private prison corporation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained immigrant women at the Jack Harwell Detention Center until ICE transferring the women from Jack Harwell to other privately operated detention centers in Taylor and Laredo. The press release stated that “reports from inside the facility included complaints of lack of access to medical care, including for pregnant women, spoiled food, no contact visits, and virtually non-existent access to attorneys.”

Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership told the Texas Independent that they “chose to honor International Human Rights Day by raising awareness about the devastating impact of detention and deportation on immigrants and their families,” said Libal. “Texas has more than 10,000 immigrant detention beds, more than any other state, so we felt the need to do this vigil here in Texas.”

The central message of the vigil according to Libal “was that we must end the mass detention and deportation of immigrants in the U.S.,” said Libal. He said speakers highlighted the “impact that private prison corporations have on immigration detention, human rights violations including sexual assault that are common in detention, and the devastating impact.”

As the overall prison population has grown in the United States, so has the number of people housed in private prisons. According to the Justice Policy Institute’s analysis of federal statistics, the number of people in privately-run prisons has increased by 353.7 percent since 1996. A significant portion of the private prison population is undocumented immigrants who are being detained, while their cases move through the immigration system.

The event brought together members of the faith community, immigrant and civil rights organizers, and those directly affected by detention and deportation. José Magaña of the Waco DREAM Act Alliance told the Texas Independent that his organization became involved with the event because of the “interaction between undocumented immigrants and the private prison industry, as well as other vulnerable populations.”

“Profiting from detention is “not only inhumane and unfair, but borders on legalized slavery,” said Magaña. “Private prisons are inherently a flawed idea, both morally and practically.” Magaña went on to say that the industry has lobbied for harsher immigration laws in the states in order to increase the number of detainees at private prisons. He specifically highlighted the infamous Arizona law SB1070 and the involvement of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The American Independent has reported on the egregious examples of prison abuse, in part because no federally-mandated minimal level of oversight exists. National Public Radio also reported on the role that ALEC, the private prison industry, and campaign donations played in creating SB1070.

“For-profit prison corporations have long records of abuse and mismanagement,” said Libal. “Furthermore, ICE relies on private prisons so heavily that the agency is really beholden to these companies. These companies have no interest in doing what’s best of the detainees or for the community, but have a vested interest in filling their beds.”

“For-profit prison corporations do not have community safety or best practices in mind, but are solely driven by the need to make a profit,” said Libal. “And the way they make a profit is to incarcerate more people in their facilities. That is a backwards system of justice that incentivizes incarcerating more people for the profit of corporations.”

Below are photos of the vigil attended by an estimated 40 to 50 protesters on December 10 at Heritage Square at Third and Austin in Waco:

Waco resident and Baylor student Hope Mustakim speaks at the vigil.

Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership participates in vigil.

Activists protest private prisons during a vigil in Waco, Texas.

Colo. Rep. DeGette rallies state civil rights activists to counteract new GOP voter laws

Posted on: December 12th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

DENVER– Colorado Democratic Congresswoman Diana DeGette and representatives of the state’s top civil rights organizations this weekend railed against efforts by Republican lawmakers and officials around the country to recast voter rules. Flooded with pale mountain sun on the west steps of the capitol, the speakers took turns detailing ways new registration and voting requirements and restrictions will make it more difficult for millions of Americans to cast ballots in presidential election year 2012. (more…)

Report: Florida Medicaid changes could force out more than 600,000 children

Posted on: December 8th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments
A report released yesterday found that a measure requiring a $10 premium from Medicaid recipients could force out about 800,000 people from the program — 660,000 of whom will likely be children.