One of America’s largest financial institutions, Bank of America, will no longer lend to detention centers and private prisons.
This move makes it one of the last big Wall Street bankers to cut ties with the industry as corporations wrestle with whether to cash in on President Trump’s immigration policies or create distance while witnessing increasing public backlash.
“The private sector is attempting to respond to public policy and government needs and demands in the absence of long-standing and widely recognized reforms needed in criminal justice and immigration policies,” Bank of America said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Lacking further legal and policy clarity, and in recognition of the concerns of our employees and stakeholders in the communities we serve, it is our intention to exit these relationships.”
The announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions over the treatment of migrants in U.S. detention centers. Bank of America has had this plan in the works for some time as we see activists demanding more accountability from the companies that profit off them.
Bank of America’s representatives spent months consulting with civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts, and academics, and toured prison and detention facilities before deciding it was in the bank’s best interest to end its relationships with these companies “as expeditiously as possible.”
A close eye is being kept on corporate profits off detention centers, with online furniture retailer Wayfair coming under fire after employees staged a walkout to protest the company’s sale of $200,000 in beds and other furniture to a Texas detention center.
More and more companies are reorganizing to fit into what Americans need. Not what economic opportunists want. We will keep you posted on companies and financial institutions that follow suit.