Alaska Native corporations contracted in border security

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Several Alaska Native corporations and their subsidiaries are contracted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in work involving detaining and guarding migrants, patrolling the nation's borders and maintaining detention centers.

Available government contract data shows that Native corporations and other Alaska-based companies have taken on at least $1 billion in ICE contracts from 2012 to 2017, the Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday.

More than half a dozen Native corporations and their subsidiaries have been contracting with the federal agency for more than a decade. Their profits and the financial benefits to their shareholders from these contracts are not publicly available. None of the companies contacted by the newspaper released contracts or financial information.

Ahtna and Global Precision Systems, a subsidiary of Bering Straits Native Corp., currently have millions of dollars in contracts to provide guards and other supporting operations to ICE.

Global Precision Systems is in a seven-year contract providing detention officers and transportation as well as food service staff to the El Paso Service Processing Center in Texas.

"As indigenous people applying strong traditional values, we at BSNC strive to ensure that all individuals who work for us and our subsidiaries, or who are placed in our care, are treated with dignity and respect," Bering Straits President Gail Schubert said in a statement.

Ahtna Native Corp. is in a contract at the Port Isabel Detention Center in Texas. The facility has been a reunification center for families separated at the border.

"We take seriously our responsibility to provide exemplary care at (the Port Isabel Detention Center)," Ahtna said in a statement posted to its website. "Our employees are taught to understand that detainees who arrive at PIDC are going through a challenging experience - and our employees take great strides to support them through this difficult process."

The 1971 federal Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act created 13 for-profit regional corporations for Alaska Natives. There are also more than 200 village corporations in the state.

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This story has been corrected to remove Doyon Ltd. from companies which currently have contracts. The company says it got out of that business in 2015.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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