Lawmakers are suing ICE detention operators over their $1-a-day work programs for migrants

Modern slavery in 2018 comes in the form of private prison companies that pay migrants at detention centers $1 a day to perform tasks such as cleaning or working in the centers’ kitchens - these migrants are either caught crossing the southern border, detained asking for asylum at an official entry place or accused of living in the U.S. illegally. Geo Group Inc. and CoreCivic Inc. (the nation’s two largest private prison operators) are now being sued for violating federal laws prohibiting forced labor, state minimum-wage laws or unjust-enrichment laws, although they claim the longstanding work programs for migrants are voluntary and are sanctioned by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The inhumane $1-a-day rate for immigrant detainees was established by Congress decades ago. ICE’s detention standards say detainees may volunteer for such work to “earn money while confined” and that the resulting “decreased idleness” could ease the “negative impact of confinement.”

Companies mentioned (YTD): Geo Group (+11%), CoreCivic (+10%)


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