A NJ Pension Fund Bets on CoreCivic and GEO Group

Source: Max Siegelbaum, Documented, August 16, 2018

As state pension funds pull back from companies that profit from immigration detention, one New Jersey fund has sunk nearly a million dollars into the industry. According to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the NJ State Employees’ Deferred Compensation Plan purchased 18,000 shares of CoreCivic stock and 20,000 shares of Geo Group stock. The total investment was $964,000, a small portion of the entire fund, worth $559 million. According to SEC filings, the shares were purchased sometime between June 30 and Aug. 2, around the height of the “zero tolerance” policy period. Geo Group runs Delaney Hall Detention Facility in Newark and CoreCivic runs Elizabeth Detention Center, a low slung building in Elizabeth that houses about 300 detainees and an immigration court.

… In 2017, New York City became the first municipality to divest from the private prison industry. … Other cities and states have followed in removing public retirement funds from private prison stock. Philadelphia sold $1.2 million last October. Nashville, Tenn., has also moved to sell its holdings. Other cities like Cincinnati, Ohio, Portland, Ore. and Minneapolis have either divested or moved towards it. Universities like Columbia, Princeton and Stanford have active student divestment movements. …

Related:

Editorial: UC should divest from companies linked with immigration crisis 
Source: Daily Bruin, August 19, 2018

President Donald Trump’s turbulent administration hit rock bottom following revelations that the federal government was separating families of asylum-seekers at the border. Among the list of offenses: caging children, coercing non-English speakers into signing esoteric forms and traumatizing minors seeking a place in this country. Californians have been crying foul ever since. The most prominent display of disdain has come from workers, who have called on state institutions to cut investments in companies linked to border detentions. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, a union representing University of California workers, called on the University in July to divest from contractors linked with the detention of immigrants at the border. And California teachers wrote a letter to administrators of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System earlier that month, demanding it divest from private prison companies and organizations involved in immigrant detention. …

Chicago teachers plan to divest private prison companies
Source: Meaghan Kilroy, Pensions & Investments, August 17, 2018
 
Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension & Retirement Fund added private prison companies and businesses that operate immigration child detention centers to its list of prohibited investments, said Angela Miller-May, chief investment officer of the $9.8 billion pension fund, in an email. At its Thursday board meeting, the pension fund board directed investment staff to instruct the fund’s investment managers to “prudently liquidate public market holdings in (these) companies as soon as reasonably practical and in accordance with the managers’ fiduciary duties,” Ms. Miller-May wrote. The pension fund estimates it has approximately $548,000 invested in these companies. …


Colleges, Cities and Pension Funds Pressured to Cut ICE Ties
Source: Candice Norwood, Governing, July 30, 2018
 
Murdoch’s campaign comes amid a sea of calls from students and immigration activists who want state and local governments, public colleges and politicians to sever their financial ties with companies and agencies involved in detaining immigrants. There is also a movement growing to abolish ICE.  While some of the politicians and institutions have given in to public pressure, others continue to defend their relationships with ICE and private prison organizations that operate detention centers. Last week, hundreds of educators petitioned the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), a public pension fund, to divest from private prison operators CoreCivic Inc. and the GEO Group. Both organizations operate immigration detention centers.  Across the country, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli earlier this month divested state pension fund holdings from GEO Group and CoreCivic. California’s pension fund, however, is unlikely to follow New York’s lead. …

Stop investing in immigrant detention companies, California teachers tell pension fund
Source: Caitlin Chen, Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2018

Hundreds of California teachers and a handful of left-leaning organizations are urging the state’s $225 billion teacher pension fund to pull its money out of for-profit prison companies and immigrant detention centers. The petition going to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is the latest in a string of calls for California public pension funds to divest from controversial industries, such as fossil fuels and guns. With few exceptions, the pension funds reject appeals for divestment because they prefer to use their clout as major investors to compel industries to change their practices. They also worry that divesting causes them to miss opportunities to earn money, which increases their overall risk. …