USA: Congressmen express support to private prison co. GEO Group in lawsuit over alleged use of forced labour

Author: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast (USA), Published on: 19 March 2018

"Republicans Say Forced Labor Is Good for Detained Immigrants in Letter Defending Private Prison", 15 March 2018

Private-prison companies that allegedly force undocumented immigrant detainees to work for little or no money have a powerful new group of advocates: Eighteen members of Congress.  The members, all Republicans, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Labor, calling for them to help private-prison company GEO Group defend itself in lawsuits by former detainees.  Over the last few years, immigrants’ rights activists have filed a number of lawsuits against private prison companies related to immigrant work programs.  The lawsuits argue that these companies, including GEO Group and CoreCivic, break a law against human trafficking by having detainees work for a $1 per day or less.  GEO Group filed the congressmen’s letter with U.S. District Court in the Central District of California on March 12 as part of the Novoa v. GEO Group suit.  It argues that immigrants should not be able to sue prison companies because they aren’t employees there, and that paying them $1 per day for their work is lawful.  The letter also said that the allegedly forced labor saves the government money and improves detainees’ morale...GEO spokesperson Pablo Paez noted that the company's labor practices have been in place for years, including under the Obama administration...

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Related companies: GEO Group