During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised to phase out the use of private companies to run detention centers for migrants, saying that "no business should profit from the suffering of desperate people fleeing violence."
Biden did issue an executive order a few days after taking office that curbed the use of private contractors by the Justice Department's Bureau of Prisons, which houses people enmeshed in the criminal justice system. (We separately rated this promise In the Works.)
However, Biden did not issue a similar ruling covering the Department of Homeland Security or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the unit within the department that oversees immigration detention facilities.
This means that migrants continue to be housed in private facilities.
"As of now, it appears that the majority of ICE detainees are being held in privately run facilities," said Theresa Cardinal Brown, managing director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, citing estimates from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Lauren-Brooke Eisen, director of the justice program at New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice, agreed that any action Biden has taken on private prisons has not been matched by similar change to migrant detention centers.
"The administration has done nothing to reduce Homeland Security's reliance on private firms," Eisen said.
In fact, there's evidence that some private facilities that have been emptied of federal inmates under Biden's order are now being used as migrant detention centers.
One example is the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center in Philipsburg, Pa., which has been operated by GEO Group, a private prison company. The company's contract with the Bureau of Prisons ended in March 2021 as a result of Biden's order. However, the company signed a contract with ICE to house migrants instead.
"These companies are basically playing an end run around the executive order," Eunice Cho, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project, told CNN.
The White House told PolitiFact that Biden "continues to support moving away from the use of private detention facilities in our immigration system" but that decisions would emerge from the Department of Homeland Security.
In all, Biden has moved towards ending private prisons but has so far declined to issue a similar order for migrant detention centers. We rate the promise Stalled.