By MOTECUZOMA SANCHEZ
CALIFORNIA- Immigration has been a point of contention in today’s national politics. One of the key battle grounds has been California and specifically the Central Valley where the agricultural industry as well as many others rely heavily on immigrant labor, both legal and illegal. In the midst of the National and statewide debate, certain politicians and the democratic party have taken to using the issue in public as a political football as a way to resonate with Chicano and latino voters in an area of the state where they make up the largest demographic for an ethnic group. Despite the outward appearances and political rhetoric that looks good in headlines and twitter profiles, these legislators in the Central Valley have taken thousands in campaign contributions for several years from the largest and most controversial corporation that profits financially from operating the detention centers immigrants and their children are being held in by the Trump Administration and their continuance and expansion of President Obama’s policies.
Who is CoreCivic?
CoreCivic is the largest operator of private prisons in the United States. They are based out of Tennessee. Over the last several years they have paid out millions of dollars in fines and lawsuits settlements for human rights abuses and many other offenses. Their record was so bad that the name CoreCivic is a new one, changed from Corrections Corporate of America as a way to distance themselves from their own record. Some of the lawsuits they’ve faced ranged from human trafficking of immigrants, forced labor-even making immigrant detainees work for toilette paper to lack of adequate medical care and abuse leading to deaths. Even their own shareholders have sued them for fraud.
Who are the Central Valley hypocrites?
While the list of statewide legislators is a long one, these are the elected officials in the Central Valley, aka the 209, that have spoken out against immigration policy and the same detention centers or used immigrants as a ploy to pander to voters while simultaneously taking money from the worst offenders in the nation:
SUSAN EGGMAN, Assemblymember for Stockton/Tracy:
Susan, who also fraudulently uses her mother’s maiden name of Talamantes to pander to Mexican and Latino Voters each election cycle, even though her legal name and name by which she is paid by the state of California is Susan Collette Eggman, ranks as the worst offender of all.
In addition to having a long record of being anti Mexican/Latino in her voting record since she served on Stockton’s city council, including actively trying to defeat the historic overtime for agricultural farmworkers in 2016-never once voting in support of, in 2017 she even went as far as to attend a rally in Stockton titled Keep Families Together. Trying to reinvent herself as an activist, she spoke passionately about how bad it was to “come after the children” and encouraged the audience to “stay woke”.
Those who are familiar with her record weren’t fooled and we found that she’s taken $7,000 in contributions from CoreCivic since 2013 and as recently as her 2018 re-election campaign. Next month she will be accepting an award and induction into the Stockton Mexican American Hall of Fame.
ADAM GRAY, Assemblymember for Merced
Despite being a Democrat and representative for an area that is majority Mexican and relies heavily on immigrant labor and businesses, Gray has taken $13,500 in contributions from CoreCivic since 2011 and as recent as 2018.
CATHLEEN GALGIANI, Democrat, State Senator for Stockton/Modesto
Galgiani has taken $4,000 in contributions from CoreCivic between the years 2014-15.
KRISTIN OLSEN, Republican, Stanislaus County Supervisor and former Assemblymember for Modesto
While not a hypocrite, as she’s never spoken out against immigration policy, Olsen took $5,000 in contributions from CoreCivic for the years 2014-15.
On a statewide level the biggest hypocrite ranks as Governor Gavin Newsom himself. Newsom has been very vocal, even getting into twitter wars with Donald Trump about immigration, yet that didn’t stop him from taking $10,000 in contributions from CoreCivic from 2011-2018.
KAMALA HARRIS, Senator and candidate for President, has taken $5,000 in contributions from CoreCivic.
THE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Despite using immigration as part of its platform and marching orders against President Trump, it was silent on President Obama’s actions and record of deporting more people in his 8 years as President than all presidents of the 20th century combined, the California Democratic Party has taken $187, 511.13 in contributions from CoreCivic since 2011 up to as recent as 2018, which is only as far as we looked.
In comparison The CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY has taken $141,500 in contributions from CoreCivic during the same time period.
JESUS M. ANDRADE, Republican, Stockton City Councilmember and Candidate for State Senate
While not receiving any contributions from CoreCivic have been found to date to Andrade, the Republican organization whose mission it is to recruit Mexicans and Latinos to run for local office so they can be groomed and run for higher office, as Andrade is now doing, received a $12,500 contribution from CoreCivic in 2014. Grow Elect, as the organization is called gave Andrade his largest contribution of $5,000 to run for Stockton city council the following year. Andrade changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican at the same time despite once working for Barack Obama’s re-election camping in 2012. He is a partner of Mayor Michael Tubbs, recruited to move back from Los Angeles to run for the seat in south Stockton Tubbs would be vacating. He is also an accomplice in Tubbs’ “Reinvent Stockton” scheme.
All supporting documents of CoreCivic contributions and their recipients can be found here on the Secretary of State website. Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State, is also among those recipients along with many other of State party Democratic leadership like Anthony Rendon the Mexican Speaker of the Assembly. Half of the LGBT caucus, which includes Eggman and Galginai, also took contributions from CoreCivic.
While some may use the argument that CoreCivic gave to everybody, the evidence shows in fact that is not true. All legislators did not take contributions from CoreCivic and we found at least one who gave the contribution back, Susan Rubio for State Senate 2018.