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Demonstrators block entrances at Nashville prison headquarters to 'defend families' from ICE

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Demonstrators blocked the entrance of CoreCivic's headquarters in Nashville to “defend families and demand an end to private prisons.” (Image source: video screenshot)\n\n

Police arrested several protesters who blocked the entrance to prison operator CoreCivic's headquarters to “defend families and demand an end to private prisons," WTVF-TV reported.

The demonstrators set up tents, replaced the Tennessee flag with a "No Borders" flag, and blocked multiple entrances early Monday morning, the station said. Nashville-based CoreCivic is one of the largest private prison companies in the nation, and it contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“CoreCivic is a human rights disaster in our own backyard,” protester Jeannie Alexander told WTVF in a statement.

No Exceptions Prison Collective, a group that wants to abolish private prisons, organized the protest.

The Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., claims that thousands of illegal immigrants are incarcerated in private prison and that companies, such as CoreCivic, "reap sizable annual profits from detaining immigrants," according to its website.

What happened?

Protesters started blocking multiple entrances before employees arrived to work Monday morning.

"Profit from pain is inhumane" was plastered across a massive banner that hung from the top of the building at one of the entrances where some demonstrators had handcuffed themselves to 55-gallon drums, according to WKRN-TV.

“How many kids have to be jailed before you care?” another banner read.

One protester dangled from about 25 feet in the air in a large swing-like seat made from logs, Fox News reported.

Late in the morning, authorities started making arrests.

Officers carried the Rev. Jeannie Alexander who went limp as they took her to the police van, according to Fox News.

It's not immediately clear how many were arrested.

What does CoreCivic say?

CoreCivic issued a statement to WKRN that said the activists have distorted the company's role in immigration detention.

We don’t enforce immigration laws, arrest anyone who may be in violation of immigration laws, or have any say whatsoever in an individual’s deportation or release.

CoreCivic plays a valued but limited role in America’s immigration system, which we have done for every administration — Democrat and Republican — for more than 30 years. While we know this is a highly charged, emotional issue for many people, much of the information about our company being shared by special interest groups is wrong and politically motivated, resulting in some people reaching misguided conclusions about what we do. The fact is our sole job is to help the government solve problems in ways it could not do alone — to help manage unprecedented humanitarian crises, dramatically improve the standard of care for vulnerable people, and meet other critical needs efficiently and innovatively.

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