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Bank of America will stop lending to private prison companies; AOC credits 'concentration camp' rhetoric
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Bank of America will stop lending to private prison companies; AOC credits 'concentration camp' rhetoric

'Words matter'

Bank of America announced that it would begin severing ties with companies that run private prisons and immigration detention facilities, so that it would no longer lend money to such companies, according to Bloomberg.

Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan have already broken away from the private prison industry, citing risk factors and social justice concerns.

Bank of America made its decision after its environmental, social, and governance committee conducted a review, which included consultations with criminal justice, civil rights, and minority leaders on the subject.

"We've done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we've made," BoA Vice Chair Anne Finucane told Bloomberg.

"The broader issues are the need for reforms in the criminal justice system and immigration," Finucane also said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who kicked off a renewed outrage over immigrant detention facility conditions when she called them "concentration camps," credited the use of that inflammatory term for Bank of America's decision.

"Last week, we called the concentration camps at the border for what they are," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "In the week since: - Acting director of Customs & Border Patrol resigned - Bank of America announced they will stop financing for-profit immigrant detention & private prisons. Words matter."

Bank of America's decision has had an impact on the stock prices of some of the top private prison companies. According to Bloomberg, GEO Group Inc. and CoreCivic Inc., fell as much as 3.8% and 3.5%, respectively, Wednesday.

GEO Group made it clear that unaccompanied minors, which have been at the center of the controversy over immigration enforcement, are not housed at any of its facilities.

"The GEO Group has never managed any facilities that house unaccompanied minors, nor have we ever managed border patrol holding facilities," said GEO Group CEO George Zoley in a statement.

(H/T The Hill)

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