Lawsuit accuses Aurora immigrant jail of forcing inmates to work

468

AURORA | A lawsuit filed this week accuses the Geo Group immigrant detention center in Aurora of violating the law by paying detainees $1 a day to clean cells and serve food.

Alejandro Menocal, who spent three months at the facility this year before being released, filed the lawsuit along with eight current and former detainees.

Menocal, 53, who is a legal resident and eventually won his immigration case in court, said that while he was locked up at the facility near Peoria Street and East 30th Avenue, he worked as a landscaper and served food, all of it for just $1 a day.

“Us detainees, we kept Geo running,” he said during a press conference Thursday morning outside the detention facility.

In a statement Thursday, Geo said they follow all federal guidelines when it comes to inmate labor.

Brandt Milstein, one of the lawyers representing Menocal, said inmates have to wax floors, scrape floors, do landscaping and clerical work or food service or they risk being placed in solitary confinement.

“Geo forces the people who are detained there to work,” he said.

Using inmates labor inside a detention facility is a common practice at government-run jails and prisons around the country. Inmates in state and federal prisons do everything from cooking and cleaning to basic maintenance. Milstein said the situation is different at the Aurora jail. The facility is operate by Geo Group for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service. Milstein believes every person, including inmates, should be making the minimum wage, but paying less than that is especially egregious at a for-profit detention center like Geo. That’s because the inmates there are accused of violating immigration laws and are not accused of misdemeanor or felony crimes. Some inamtes, like Menocal, are eventually cleared and released, he said.

The lawsuit seeks damages for the inmates as well as increased wages for future work.

In the statement, Geo officials said: “GEO’s facilities, including the Aurora, Colo. facility, provide high quality services in safe, secure, and humane residential environments, and our company strongly refutes allegations to the contrary.”

The statement said inmate labor and wage rates are set by the federal government. The company also noted that its facilities are regularly inspected at random by federal regulators, and the Aurora location received a perfect score during its last inspection.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aldo Elmnight
Aldo Elmnight
7 years ago

Why are we paying them at all. They broke the law and are being supported by the state. They should be paying us.

“Menocal, 53, who is a legal resident and eventually won his immigration case in court”

So was he an illegal when he was detained and then granted legal status via the court system? If he had legal status prior to being detained then he has a good law suit.

CGUTZ
CGUTZ
7 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Elmnight

Aldo Elmnight, come on! Don’t express the ignorance that have no real solutions to it. I can honestly say that you and I will probably agree on some things as it relates to the immigrant community, however, THINK before you make these statements. If they broke the law and are then allowed to stay here then the system should NOT make it easy for them but should also not label them.

Immigrants
Immigrants
7 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Elmnight

You have no clue, he was picked up on old charge and they were holding him on a civil matter, which should have been taken care of at civil court. And if you remember history we are all immigrants except for the American Indians and look at what the white man did to them.

Aldo Elmnight
Aldo Elmnight
7 years ago
Reply to  Immigrants

Illegal immigrants are not the same as immigrants that enter lawfully through a port of entry. All those immigrants who entered through Ellis island entered the country LEGALLY.

Atrocities against Indians were the result of white men acting like Indians.

cgutz
cgutz
7 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Elmnight

Aldo Elmnight, there you go, again. Passage of the Immigrant Quota Act of 1921 and the National Origins Act of 1924, which limited the number and nationality of immigrants allowed into the United States, effectively ended the era of mass immigration into New York, ILLEGALY. If you do not know facts or know history, do not speak on it. This country of OURS, is a country of IMMIGRANTS, whether from Europe, Middle East, South America, or Mexico. I think you feel ENTITLED that this country has attracted more brownies than whities. I would say the majority, 90% of Latino immigrants that come here ILLEGALY, obey laws, contribute to society, and want a piece of the American dream. For those in any race that rape, murder, steal, do drugs, gang violence, should in fact LEAVE the U.S.
Let’s separate FACTUAL information and stop spreading IGNORANCE.

Aldo Elmnight
Aldo Elmnight
7 years ago
Reply to  cgutz

“come here ILLEGALY, obey laws,”

LOL!

Guest
Guest
7 years ago
Reply to  Immigrants

No, we are not all immigrants…..I can say that I am 6th generation born in this country, so I never immigrated here. And the “black man”, “brown man” and any other color man has done nothing to give the Indians back their land, don’t be a hypocrite….

cgutz
cgutz
7 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Talk about the feeling of ENTITLEMENT! 6th generation…lol I am a 2nd generation Hispanic, what does that make me? My Parents migrated to the U.S. in the 60’s and have succeeded very well… If you saw them out on the street, I wonder what you would see…?

Frank2525
Frank2525
7 years ago

Oh, the shame of it. They have to do some work to keep their areas and each other fed, in clean areas, while they get their 3 hots and a cot. From what I found, he was charged with failing to appear to court summons. My granddaughter did the same in another state, and spent 6 months in women’s state prison (2 facilities). Taught her to appear and answer all court directives, she changed life style after finding out how tough some women prisoners could be, who will not accept excuses. She came out a different person, and the granddaughter I wanted her to be. Now working, tax-paying citizen, she walks a more normal path. Perhaps he will learn court summons is to be taken seriously, and I doubt he has a legitimate case. But lawyers will try the edges of the law. Judges used to slap them with frivolous cases, and frown on them, and their clients.

CGUTZ
CGUTZ
7 years ago
Reply to  Frank2525

Frank, I am glad you used your granddaughter as an example to mirror this one here. I am Hispanic and have fought for responsible and sound rights for illegal immigrants. Without knowing the details of this particular case, I can say that if he broke the law for whatever reason, then he should be punished for that. A lot of these people are not criminals or rapist or drug dealers, but rather people who seek a better life and want to follow the law.

Frank2525
Frank2525
7 years ago
Reply to  CGUTZ

I absolutely agree. Had Mexican couple living next door with 2 very neat children, buying their home. Immigrants I welcome, she had her citizenship naturalization, he with green card yet. They lost their home when not able to pay 2 months, lender would not work with them, foreclosed, and they continued to rent house until December. Her brother, and 2 uncles, Mexican citizens with small businesses was executed (assassinated) by drug cartel when they rejected paying extortion, by guns of same caliber FAST and FURIOUS sold to drug cartels. I am furious about this. They have now moved, and are renting.
On the other hand, I had experience of 13 Sonora immigrants, only spoke English, in house to North of me in 2006-07 who trashed that house, bypassed the water and electric meter, destroyed the lawns, and dropped value of that house from $186,000 2006 appraisal to selling as fixer-upper for $89,000 in 2008. That brought down all the appraised value in our neighborhood in Aurora to less than $100,000. My house at $186,500 in 2006-2008 appraisal, dropped t $92,000 even though I had new furnace, new roof, new windows and doors and additions to home at cost of $28,000 in same period. Now at $106,500, I lost $80,000 assets due to illegal immigration. Those guys were between 20-30years of age, no intentions of becoming citizens, came and went at all times of the day and night. Those are the ones who make it difficult for legal, naturalized, or born here citizens to agree to open borders.
I am a blunt speaker, so will tell you and anyone else, I agree with Legal immigration, through proper procedures. I will vote against and speak out against Illegal immigration until my death. I have Spanish, Hawaiian, Pilipino, as members of my family. All legal.
And anyone who doubts my figures, I challenge you to look at appraised values of homes in Aurora in 2006 , 2010, and now. Southern part of Aurora stayed same, or increased. Houses in Aurora near FITZSIMONS are now being bought by Real Estate Dealers to tip, later when economy improves or goes back to normal in future administrations. But thank you for your input. You are so right. By the way my granddaughter had a mother whose grandfather who was a proud, born Mexican, and refused to be referred to by Latino, Spanish, or others name. HE IS DECEASED NOW BY WAS A PROUD AMERICAN.

Dan Smith
Dan Smith
7 years ago

They should work in every prison,Sheriff Joe does it right in AZ