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Posts tagged ‘Detention’

Our detained client at GEO center in Texas: “Maggots in the food caused us to start on a hunger strike.”

Our detained client, Angel Guillen, who is only 18 years old and eligible for a green card as a special immigrant juvenile, was a participant in the ongoing hunger strike at the Joe Corley Detention Facility, owned and operated by the GEO Group. (P.S. Please sign his petition for release from detention)

In a phone call today, Angel informed us that he and others decided to start a hunger strike because there were maggots in the food served at the facility.

When the detainees complained to someone at the facility about the maggots, they were told that nothing would be done because no one cares about them.

Today I spoke to the warden at Joe Corley, who told me that there were never any maggots in the food. The warden further stated that the hunger strike was only in response to detainees’ immigration concerns.

We believe our client, who gave up on the hunger strike when he saw many others who were unable to continue. According to the Warden, 12 detainees remain on hunger strike as of today.


Will The Real Prison Profiteers Please Stand Up?

F. William Mcnabb II, CEO and Chairman of The Vanguard Group, which owns close to $590 million private prison shares.

F. William Mcnabb II, CEO and Chairman of The Vanguard Group, which owns close to $590 million in private prison shares.

Abigail Johnson, leader of Fidelity Investments, which owns over $520 million in private prison shares.

Abigail Johnson, leader of Fidelity Investments, which owns over $520 million in private prison shares.

The GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) have been active in the press as of late. Most recently, Florida Atlantic University announced that it would name its new stadium the “GEO Group Stadium” in recognition of a $6 million donation from the private prison giant.

The CEO of CCA recently assured investors that there was no need to worry about immigration reform, as Colorlines reported: 

There is always going to be strong demand regardless of what is being done at the national level as far as immigration reform.

Although it is tempting to apportion the moral outrage of immigration detention upon ostensibly evil entities such as CCA, GEO, or ICE, one must be vigilant in following the money.

Who really owns GEO and CCA? A handful of the biggest investment funds in the world. You might even have a stake in one of the companies if you invest in mutual funds.

Fidelity Investments, one of the largest mutual funds and financial services groups in the world, owns over $520 million in shares between CCA and GEO.

The Vanguard Group, another giant investment fund that manages close to $2 trillion in total assets, owns over $580 million in shares between CCA and GEO.

There are several other investment funds and banks that have a substantial amount of money invested in private prisons. For example, Scopia Capital Management, which manages a more modest $3.5 billion in total assets, owns $299,518,488 in GEO shares. That is a staggering 8 percent of their entire holdings.

Scopia would have a lot to lose if immigration reform drastically reduced the need for the detention of human beings  unlucky enough to not be endowed with the golden ticket of U.S. citizenship.

Money corrupts. It creates an impermeable barrier between those that profit and those that the profit is made off of. Profiting off of detaining immigrants is particularly pernicious. The shareholders of GEO and CCA are earning money off of the destruction of immigrant families. They are earning money by contributing to a child losing her father or mother or both forever.

Moreover, the shareholders are earning money from the systematic violation of immigrants’ human rights, which includes but is not limited to the illegal detention of U.S. citizens , rapeundernourishment, and inadequate healthcare of the detainees.

We should not let these profiteers ignore the harm that their profits are causing. Let the public know. Below are the leaders of the funds with the most invested in GEO and CCA. The groups listed below have at least $50 million in ownership of GEO and/or CCA.

F. William Mcnabb II is the CEO and Chairman of Vanguard.

Abigail Johnson leads Fidelity along with her father, Edward C. Johnson III.

Matt Sirovich and Jeremy Mindich run Scopia Capital Management.

Richard McGuire heads Marcato Capital Management.

Stephen M. Goddard is the founder and CFA of London Company of Virginia.

Kenneth M. Jacobs is the Chairman and CEO of Lazard Asset Management.

Keith A. Meister is the founder of Corvex Management LP.

Chris Wallis is the CEO president and CEO of Vaughan Nelson.

Paul Trowbridge Gillepsie Jr. is Co-founder, principal, and president of New South Capital Management, Inc.

Guy Monson is the Managing Partner, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer of Sarasin & Partners LLP.

Joseph L. Hooley is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of State Street Corporation.

Richard Rossi is the President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Eagle Asset Management, Inc.

R. Andrew Beck is the President and CEO of River Road Asset Management LLC.

David G. Booth is Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.

Jay B. Abramson is the CEO of Cramer Rosenthal Mcglynn LLC/Adv.

John G. Stumpf is Chairman, President, and CEO of Wells Fargo & Company.

Lawrence D. Fink is Chairman Chief Executive Officer of Blackrock Fund Advisors.

ICE willing to sentence severely disabled 4-year-old U.S. citizen girl to death or total paralysis for crime of her father.

Danna Palma is 4-years-old. She is a U.S. citizen and suffers from a severe form of Cerebral Palsy. She lives with her mom, dad and 5-year-old U.S. citizen sister, Shakira.

She cannot walk without both mechanical and human assistance. In order for her to maintain the ability to move, Danna must engage in daily occupational and physical therapy.

If she does not do her therapy, she risks becoming totally paralyzed.

The most important person in the world to Danna is her father, Miguel Palma.

In 2011, Miguel was arrested and convicted of his second DUI offense. Miguel was subsequently detained by ICE for approximately a month.

He eventually was released and served another month in jail for his arrest. On June 12, 2012, Miguel completed rehabilitation and has stayed clean since.

When Miguel was detained in 2011, Danna was devastated. She refused to do any of her therapy and did not sleep for two weeks straight.

Her ability to move regressed significantly. Since her dad’s return, she has returned to normal, participating in therapy on a regular basis.

I have met her three times now and can say that she is a very happy girl, playing with her sister and playfully calling me: “Abogado.”

If Miguel is deported to Peru, she will again be devastated. If she does not participate in therapy for a significant amount of time, she risks becoming totally paralyzed, which can also lead to death.

Given that Miguel is not eligible for a defense to removal, I submitted a request for prosecutorial discretion on his behalf to Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that he would not be at risk of being separated from Danna.

First, an Assistant Chief Counsel formally denied my request on September 17, 2012.

In a discussion prior to his decision, I asked him about the hardship that Danna would face if her dad was removed. He dismissed the concern, responding that: “He could have just gotten into the car with his daughter.”

Ultimately, Chief Counsel of New York declined to reverse the original ICE attorney’s decision to deny prosecutorial discretion.

Lastly, I requested ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Adviser’s headquarters to review the New York office’s decision.  Today, they informed me that they would decline to disturb the original denial.

The evidence is irrefutable: If Miguel is removed from the United States, Danna will suffer exceptionally extreme hardship. She could become totally paralyzed or die.

ICE has the power to save Danna’s life by exercising prosecutorial discretion in favor of Miguel. Yet they refuse, citing “public safety” concerns. ICE has stated that they “sympathize” with Danna, but are not willing to act on this sympathy.

Danna is a U.S. citizen who deserves a voice to represent her interests. Her interests are inextricably linked with being with her father here in her home country, the United States.

Our federal government has more than just an obligation to enforce laws; they also have an obligation to consider what their enforcement actions will have on their own people.

Here, the answer is clear:

Danna’s life should trump that of a hypothetical danger that her father presents to the public. Anyone who has met this little girl and her family could not disagree.