Enslaved immigrants stop work in GEO Group run facility and go on hunger strike


President Obama’s administration was called out by the CEO of The National Council of La Raza recently and asked to do more to stop immigration related deportation of people with no criminal records, many of them teens brought here by relatives with US citizenship. In 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would stop deportations of young undocumented immigrants if they matched the criteria previously proposed under the Dream Act legislation, which stalled in Congress. However, La Raza and their allies feel the President can do more.

Now immigrants incarcerated in a dentition facility run by the world’s second largest private company engaging in constitutionally protected enslavement and human trafficking are refusing to do any more work in the Tacoma, Washington, Northwest Detention Center. They have also chosen to go on a hunger strike in addition to the work stoppage and demanding a reform of U.S. deportation policy, better food, increased pay for their work inside the prison plantation and an end to the abuse suffered at the hands of GEO Group guards.

In recent years work stoppage and hunger strikes have been occurring in more and more prisons and detention facilities in the United States but have received scant to no corporate media coverage. Most of the strikes have to do with mistreatment of inmates including beatings, rapes and murders at the hands of guards, slave wages for work that would pay at least the minimum wage if workers on the outside were doing it and the use of solitary confinement which the UN has deemed torture.

Many slavery abolitionists activist point to the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as being the key to 21st century slavery and human trafficking and why the United States is not the land of the free but the home of the enslaved with a world leading incarceration rate within its borders. When President Ronald Reagan was able to push through legislation in the 80s that allowed for the privatization of prisons, the prison population really began to explode and today legalized slavery and human trafficking provides billions of dollars in annual profits for investors. Lobbyist for the private prison industry, groups like ALEC and prison and law enforcement unions do not want to see immigration reform pushed through, as it would mean huge losses in revenue and jobs.

Maru Mora Villalpando is the founder of the Seattle-based Latino Advocacy group and says they will be protesting outside of Northwest Detention Center until Tuesday.

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