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2 Jul 2018

Alexandra F. Levy, The Washington Post (USA)

Commentary: Private prisons have most to gain from US immigration policy

"Who has most to gain from Trump’s immigration policies? Private prisons.", 29 June 2018

Who stands to gain from the Trump administration’s immigration policies?...One possibility? Private for-profit prison companies.  The two largest private prison contractors in the United States, GEO Group and CoreCivic, house thousands of immigrant detainees across the country.  These corporations now face allegations that they force immigrant detainees to perform unpaid labor inside their facilities.  Since President Trump took office, immigrant detainees have brought five separate human trafficking and forced labor lawsuits against these two private prison companies...The lawsuits allege that GEO Group and CoreCivic compelled the detainees to work cleaning toilets, showers and communal housing units without pay and under threat of punishment...GEO Group has denied the allegations, arguing in a court filing that “the household duties expected of detainees do not involve GEO in ‘trafficking’ persons for forced labor.”  And while a spokesman for CoreCivic said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation, the company also maintains that its programs are “completely voluntary” and follow federal standards.  But if the allegations are true, then both companies are violating federal human trafficking laws that prohibit forced labor and involuntary servitude...The implications of these cases reach far beyond the individual civil cases.  Many of the immigrants detained at GEO Group and CoreCivic facilities would not legally be permitted to work outside the detention centers’ fences...