Go deeper: How teachers fund immigrant prisons

Billions of dollars from teachers' pensions have been invested into private prisons that have detained captured undocumented immigrants near the southern border, according to a new report from The American Federation of Teachers.

Adapted from an American Fedration of Teachers report; Note: General Dynamics’s core business is not operating private prisons, but is included because it has contracts with migrant shelters; Table: Axios Visuals

The big picture: AFT, which has 1.7 million total members, says that it kept receiving requests for information from members who expressed concerns about indirectly supporting private prisons used to separate families and detain immigrants.

The details: More than $10 billion was invested into private jail operators GEO Group and CoreCivic, as well as defense contractor General Dynamics, which has worked with the Department of Health and Human services.

  • General Dynamics received the most investment from teacher pension funds, at just over $10 billion through August 7, 2018.

What they're saying: AFT is urging pension fund managers to divest, arguing that not only are these investments ethically questionable, but that they also may be bad business.

  • AFT argues that these companies have benefited from the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, as well as from a policy that allows federal inmates to be housed at private prisons — but both could be reversed.
  • Per AFT President Randi Weingarten: "Hedge funds that invest in private prisons are not only profiting off a broken justice system and abetting the administration’s policies of family separation ... They are also making a risky bet on an industry rightfully under siege."

The other side: GeoGroup said in a statement that it has never managed facilities housing unaccompanied minors or provided services for that purpose, and describes the AFT report as "outrageous." Neither CoreCivic nor General Dynamics returned requests for comment.