Neoliberal economics play a significant role in US social organization, imposing market logics on public services and driving the cultural valorization of free market ideology. The neoliberal ‘project of inequality’ is upheld by an authoritarian system of punishment built around the social control of the underclass—among them unauthorized immigrants. This work lays out the theory of the punishment marketplace: a conceptualization of how US systems of punishment both enable the neoliberal project of inequality, and are themselves subject to market colonization. The theory describes the rescaling of federal authority to local centers of political power. Criminal justice policy activism by local governments is punishment entrepreneurship: an accumulative approach to securing fiscal gain, political hegemony, security, and capitalized power. Local immigration enforcement entrepreneurship targets unauthorized and other deportable immigrants. This punitive immigration control reinforces racially structured social relations by obscuring the diminishing returns neoliberal globalization provides working class whites.