Business is Booming for the Prison Profiteers

by JAMES KILGORE, Counter Punch

Private corrections company The GEO Group celebrated the holiday season by opening a new 1,500 bed prison in Milledgeville, Georgia on December 12th. The $80 million facility is expected to generate approximately $28.0 million in annual revenues.

Though GEO (formerly Wackenhut) is hardly a household name, they are a major player in the private corrections sector, combining a self righteous amorality in profiting from human misery with a ruthless sense of just how to make a buck in this business. The GEO Group is so notorious that they were the target of an Occupy Washington D.C. action in early December. In addition,  the United Methodist Church sold off more than $200,000 in stock in GEO Group over the holiday season, judging that holding these shares was “incompatible with Bible teaching.”

While such actions may irritate a few within the company’s rank, the GEO Group is thick-skinned.  Over the years journalists have exposed a long history of violence, abuse and corruption in the company’s facilities.  Such scandals would have driven most firms out of business, but GEO has always managed to find the way back to prosperity. While the U.S. economy has plummeted in the past eighteen months, GEO has been positioning itself for the future.  In addition to opening the Georgia facility, during this period the company has: Continue reading

Six Undocumented Students Arrested for Protesting Georgia’s HB 87

by Julianne Hing

Six undocumented immigrant high school students—Dulce Guerrero, Jessica Vasquez, Rolando Zenteno, Nataly Ibarra, Felipe Baeza and Leeidy Solis, some as young as 16 years old—have been arrested by police while protesting the Georgia’s anti-immigrant law at the state capitol today.

A federal judge has issued a temporary block against two of the harshest provisions of Georgia’s new sweeping anti-immigrant law, HB 87, just days before the law is set to go into effect.

Most of the law still stands, and is set to go into effect later this week, on July 1. Today, a handful of Georgia undocumented immigrant youth are headed to Atlanta to protest the law and this afternoon plan to risk arrest by announcing their status in the state capitol. Continue reading

Really? A Raid on Father’s Day? ICE proves they can sink even lower

The strawberry festival was all but empty after a raid on dads at a family festival on Father's Day took place.

As if colluding with private prison companies to profit off of destroying families wasn’t enough, ICE upped their cold-heartedness (pardon the pun) with a sting on Dads during Father’s Day.  Not only did ICE rip apart families in Glenwood Springs, Colorado on Father’s Day, they did it at a family festival!

The agency’s disdain for immigrants and basic human rights is to the point where they aren’t even following their own protocol which states that  they must “refrain from conducting enforcement actions or investigative activities at or near sensitive community locations, such as schools, places of worship… and venues generally where children and their families may be present.”

According to Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, ICE agents detained two brothers who were watching their kids play in a bouncy castle.

“Brothers Cesar and Julio Alvarez were then taken to an ICE van in the back of the fair, while their 4 children waited with their aunt and mother.”

The ICE agents went on to be jerks to the rest of the Alvarez family, putting Julio’s 7-month pregnant wife through so much stress she had to be sent to Emergency Care.

Community Rallies for Gerardo, Hearing Date Delayed to December 5th

Gerardo and his family received a warm and enthusiastic welcome this afternoon as around 100 people rallied to support them and to educate English speaking audiences about the injustices of the U.S.’s broken immigration system.  Many students who have been fighting for the DREAM Act were in attendance. Thank you, Jeremy Bermudez of PAZ for a wonderful, rousing call to action!  Also accompanying us were actors portraying banks and private prison corporations, ICE, with students chained by their interests.
After Gerardo spoke to the crowd, he and his family went in to immigration court, where his lawyer proceeded to apply for and receive an extension on Gerardo’s hearing.  It is now scheduled for December 5th. You can be sure we’ll be there.
If you haven’t already signed the petition for Gerardo on United We Dream’s Website, please do so:
Also, we hope to see you at the following upcoming events:
Immigration Forum at Denver’s First Universalist Church at Colorado and Hampden, June 12, 11:30 to 2.  This is a great opportunity for folks to learn what’s going on with deportations in the U.S. The program will be in English, and will feature RAP leaders Jeanette and Gerardo as well speaking via translator.

Jeanette’s Final Deportation Hearing at Immigration Court, 17th and Welton,
July 13 at 8:30 a.m.  According to her wishes we want to bring an even bigger crowd this time, so be sure and mark your calendars

STOP The Deportation of Jeanette!

NOW is when we need your immediate support! As many of you know, one of RAP’s amazing leaders Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother of 4, wife, small business owner, and community activist, is facing her final immigration court date this coming Monday, May 16th.

That’s why we need you to JOIN us on JEANETTE’S COURT DATE for a rally outside of the courthouse. We’ll be gathering bright and early this Monday, May 16 at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Denver at the corner of 17th and Welton to rally for Jeanette and the thousands of others facing deportation. Program starts at 7:30am, actions will continue as Jeanette goes into the hearing.

Let’s stand in solidarity with Jeanette! Let’s speak out against the big business of deportations! NO one should profit from family’s pain!

WE need to make some noise and be the conscience of those who ignore or want to hide the truth!!

Take action NOW to send faxes to key targets before Friday at noon!
http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5016/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6797

More info call 303-893-3500 or liz@rap-dpt.org

Watch Jeanette’s story here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9M3ktorCBY

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AHORA es cuando necesitamos su apoyo inmediato! Como saben, un líder increíble de RAP Jeanette Vizguerra, madre de 4 hijos, esposa, dueña de un negocio local, y activista de la comunidad, enfrenta su fecha final de corte de inmigración el próximo lunes 16 de Mayo.
Continue reading

Colorado AID: A Case Study in Prison Abolition Praxis

The following is a reflective piece written by a member of Denver ABC.  Enjoy!

“Who are these dear friends who are falling like dry leaves?
Radio said, ‘They are just deportees’” Woody Guthrie (1)

“(The Office of Detention and Removal) provides the endgame to immigration enforcement and that is the removal of all removable aliens”(2)

Abolish Inhumane Detention

The blunt quote above, taken from a key document produced by the Bureau of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), exudes the blunt immigration policy of the United States.  I would even argue that it is nothing less than war being conducted on immigrants.(3)

Just take a quick gaze at our current social landscape and the picture begins to come into focus.  Border Patrol has constructed a highly militarized and technologically advanced border wall and is running immigration check points great distances inside of US borders.  A gap exists in the wall in the brutal Sonora desert in Arizona, funneling migrants into an environment that continues to claim thousands of lives.  Covertly or openly white supremacist paramilitaries are also patrolling the land, heightening the hostile environment.  ICE has a high functioning system of mass deportation that is centered around an archipelago of detention centers throughout the US.  Through legislature, the criminalization of immigrants continues to intensify.  All of this continues to be justified due to a dominant culture saturated with racist, xenophobic ideology.

Colorado’s front range has not been spared in this war and in fact continues to play a critical role in it.  The ICE raids at Greeley meatpacking plants in 2006 demonstrated to the entire country what the future held.(4)  Legally criminalizing immigrants through legislation like Secure Communities has also taken place here.  Most notably though is the large, privately-run ICE detention facility in Aurora that holds 1,100 beds.(5)  Supporting the many families in the Denver metro area surviving through this war is where the work of Colorado AID takes place.
Continue reading

Seven Immigrant Youth Arrested in Atlanta

By Julianne Hing, Colorlines

On Tuesday afternoon at Georgia State University in Atlanta seven immigrant youth activists were arrested for blocking traffic while protesting a newly passed ban on undocumented immigrant students enrolling in the five most competitive public universities in Georgia. As of this morning, the students had yet to be released from jail and are awaiting a hearing this afternoon.

Georgina Perez, Viridiana Martinez, Jose Rico, Dayanna Rebolledo, Andrea Rosales, David Ramirez and Maria Marroquin were arrested. An eighth student, Dulce Guerrero, stepped out at the last moment to act as a media representative for the group. All are undocumented immigrant youth who said they’ve faced barriers to getting their education because of their immigration status. According to Mohammad Abdollahi, an undocumented immigrant activist who helped organize the protest, bond has been set at $2,000 for each person.

Read the rest here!