New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is asking for hearings in Congress on why Wall Street is lending money to private prisons that house undocumented immigrants, according to reports.
“We’re going to hold oversight hearings to make these banks accountable for investing in and making money off of the detention of immigrants,” she said. “Because it’s wrong.”
Ocasio-Cortez was named to the House Financial Services Committee this year, which is chaired by California Rep. Maxine Waters. Waters has reportedly reached out to some of the biggest banks, and it’s not clear whether Ocasio-Cortez wants to hold a separate hearing.
Two of the biggest lenders are Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. They have loaned capital to GEO Group Inc. and CoreCivic Inc., which own facilities that have housed immigrants.
Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, said it’s important that people know who reaps rewards from the incarcerations.
“People deserve to know who is benefiting from caging children,” she said. “Too little is known about the profit motives behind aggressive immigration enforcement.”
The committee plays a big role in determining policies for the banking industry, as well as for hedge funds and insurance companies. As a result, the lawmakers who sit on it are known for their effective fundraising. Ocasio-Cortez, on the other hand, is likely to call for increased oversight of financial companies. In the past, the 29-year-old congresswoman has called for the largest banks to be broken up. She is part of an up-and-coming group of Democrats who want to rid the country of income inequality and are calling on the biggest earners in the country to pay more in taxes.
When she was appointed, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to sit on this committee as a freshman, and look forward to working under the leadership of @RepMaxineWaters!”