Things That Matter

A Group Of Immigrant Detainees Have Filed A Lawsuit Alleging They Were Victims Of Forced Labor

Former detainees of the Aurora ICE Processing Center in Aurora, Colo. are suing private prison firm GEO Group, alleging they were victims of forced labor. A federal judge in Colorado on Feb. 27 upgraded the lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by nine former detainees, to a class-action suit increasing the number of plaintiffs from nine to more than 60,000. The lawsuit alleges that immigrants detained at the GEO Group’s private detention center were victims of forced labor in violation with anti-slavery laws. According to The Washington Post, detainees were forced to work for as much as $1 a day. Any who refused the demand were threatened with solitary confinement. The Florida-based private prison company currently holds a contract with ICE.

“That’s obviously a big deal; it’s recognizing the possibility that a government contractor could be engaging in forced labor,” Nina DiSalvo, the executive director of Towards Justice, a Colorado-based nonprofit group told The Washington Post. “Certification of the class is perhaps the only mechanism by which these vulnerable individuals who were dispersed across the country and across the world would ever be able to vindicate their rights.”

Denver7 KMGH-TV reports that the lawsuit started with just nine former detainees of the 1,500-bed facility in Colorado. After the ruling by U.S. District Judge John Kane that the lawsuit is a class-action matter, anyone who was detained by ICE between 2004 and now are automatically added to the lawsuit. This is the first-ever class-action lawsuit to be filed against a for-profit prison firm.

The original lawsuit was seeking $5 million for the nine plaintiffs, but the class-action status added to the lawsuit will increase the amount of money awarded to the victims. The facility in question is reported to have functioned on the work of the detained immigrants since they had only one janitor on staff. GEO Group denies the allegations.

“We have consistently, strongly refuted these allegations, and we intend to continue to vigorously defend our company against these claims,” GEO Group Vice President for Corporate Relations Pablo Paez, told Denver7 in a statement. He added: “The volunteer work program at immigration facilities as well as the wage rates and standards associated with the program are set by the Federal government. Our facilities, including the Aurora, Colo. Facility, are highly rated and provide high-quality services in safe, secure, and humane residential environments pursuant to the Federal Government’s national standards.”

Watch the full news report by Denver7 below.


READ: A Judge Ordered The Release Of Images From An Arizona Immigration Detention Center

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

Things That Matter

Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Motivated By Jealousy, a Man Shot and Killed a Family of Six At a Party In Colorado Springs

Things That Matter

Motivated By Jealousy, a Man Shot and Killed a Family of Six At a Party In Colorado Springs

via Getty Images

Colorado has a history of mass shootings that date all the way back to the 1999 Columbine Massacre. Just a few months ago, 10 people died from a mass shooting in a grocery store in Boulder, CO. And this past weekend, more people lost their lives at the hands of a madman with a gun. This time, the shooting happened in Colorado Springs.

Over the weekend, eight people were shot and killed. The shooting happened at a birthday party in Colorado Springs. The police say that the suspect shot the family because he was jealous that he wasn’t invited to the party.

“When he wasn’t invited to a family gathering the suspect responded by opening fire and killing six victims before taking his own life,” said Colorado Springs police chief Vince Niski about the shooting.

The Colorado Springs shooting victims were all family members and all Latino. They are: Melvin Perez, 31, Mayra Perez, 32, Jose Gutierrez, 21, Joana Cruz, 53, Jose Ibarra, 26, and Sandra Ibarra, 28. Three children, aged 2, 5, and 11, also witnessed the shooting, but survived. According to police, the murders left all three children orphaned.

The shooter was 26-year-old Teodoro Macias. Macias and Sandra Ibarra for a year. Macias took his own life after his rampage.” “At the core of this horrendous act is domestic violence,” Chief Niski said. “The suspect, who was in a relationship with one of the victims, displayed power and control issues in this relationship.”

The Colorado Springs shooting is sparking a national discussions about domestic violence, misogyny, mass shootings, and gun control legislation.

“In Colorado, we’ve had domestic terrorism incidents where lots of people were killed,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. “We’ve had random acts like going into King Soopers or a movie theater. But let’s not forget about the lethality of domestic violence.”

According to police, Teodoro Macias had no criminal record. Sandra Ibarra never reported any incidents of domestic violence. But family members told police that Macias was “jealous” and “controlling.”

Macias tried to isolate Ibarra from her family–hallmarks of violent and abusive partners. The couple had been fighting the week before the shooting.

Right now, the extended family of the victims are struggling to make funeral arrangements because the amount of loved ones that have died is “overwhelming”.

Thankfully, a family friend has set up a Facebook page to raise funds for the family’s funeral expenses.

In the meantime, the Colorado Springs community and the nation at large are reeling over another mass shooting. This time, the epidemic of domestic violence fueled this mass shooting. “Women in the U.S. are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed than women in any other high-income country,” wrote gun control activist Shannon Watts on Twitter. “Every country is home to domestic abusers, only America gives them easy access to arsenals and ammunition.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com