Aurora, CO – On November 6, 2017, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Coloradans for Immigrant Rights hosted their quarterly vigil at the GEO Group ICE Detention Center in Aurora, Colorado.
Unicorn Riot was live streaming the vigil, which can be watched below:
According to the event page, the vigil was “honoring and calling on our ancestors to guide us as we continue to cast light on and end the expanding for-profit detention.”
This detention center, which has a capacity of holding 1,532 people, operates effectively as a private prison. The Boca Raton, FL-based GEO Group is a “Real Estate Investment Trust” (REIT). Similar to other private prison stocks, GEO’s stock is up 75% since Donald Trump was elected president.
As we have mentioned in previous coverage of past vigils at this detention center, there is a current class-action lawsuit against the center for forcing detainees to help run the facility for $1 a day.
According to the Aurora Sentinel, the lawsuit includes Alejandro Menocal who spent three months at the facility and who worked as a landscaper and food-server.
Brandt Milstein, one of the lawyers representing Menocal, said inmates have to wax floors, scrape floors, do landscaping and clerical work or food service or they risk being placed in solitary confinement.
‘Geo forces the people who are detained there to work,’ he said.”
The class-action is seeking over $5 million in damages.
The U.S. Congress passed a law in 2007 which requires ICE to maintain at least 34,000 detention beds at any given time in order to receive $2 billion a year in federal funding.
In 2012, 90 percent of the beds in the 21 largest detention facilities–including the center in Aurora–were administered by private prison operators.
In 2016, at least 70 percent of immigrant detainees in the U.S. were held in facilities that were owned or operated by private prison corporations.
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