Immigrant Detainees Subjected to Forced Labor in Private Prisons, Lawsuit Claims
Posted on Mar 5, 2017
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As many as 60,000 immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could play a role in a new class-action lawsuit accusing a private prison company of violating federal anti-slavery laws. The lawsuit alleges that detained immigrants awaiting court dates were forced to work for $1 per day or for free, on threat of solitary confinement.
It was initially filed on behalf of nine immigrant plaintiffs in 2014 for $5 million in damages, but was recently moved to class action status. Now, attorneys expect damages to grow substantially, maybe involving tens of thousands of plaintiffs, as Kristine Phillips reports in a March 5 Washington Post piece that details the lawsuit.
Phillips also notes in her article that this is “the first time a class-action lawsuit accusing a private U.S. prison company of forced labor has been allowed to move forward.”
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The lawsuit claims the detention company’s alleged practice of forcing select immigrant detainees to work for little to no pay each day, is a violation of the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Act was reauthorized in 2003, 2005, and 2008 and seeks to prevent modern-day versions of slavery.
You can read Phillips’ detailed Washington Post article on the lawsuit here.
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