Organization Working To Ensure Detainees Get Back Pay

During a live Facebook video this past Friday, La Resistencia, an organization working to stop immigrant detention, discussed updates to litigation against GEO Group, the company which runs the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.

A jury found GEO owes several detainees over $17 million in back-pay for unfair wages for their work programs within the center. The ruling also found that GEO owes the state of Washington over $5 million, and granted an injunction that GEO has to pay minimum wage for any work done in the future.

Manuel Abrego with La Resistencia wants to start the process of confirming who gets back-pay. He says people should reach out to their organization to start the process. While attorneys have a list of those who qualify, Abrego says the list may be outdated; “We won’t stop with just this lawsuit, we will keep fighting for the government to repay for every single thing that we have been going through at the detention center.”

GEO will be appealing the decision.

Since the ruling, those currently detained at the center say the work programs have halted. NWPB reported on how this is affecting conditions in the facility.

Israel Arrascue, who is detained at the center says it is as if they have been fired. He referenced how filthy the center has been getting because detainees used to perform cleaning duties three times a day, but those duties are now done barely once a day, and this poses a health concern. Arrascue says this is forcing those detained to clean for free, as they don’t want to live in a dirty place.

The event can be watched here, in both English and Spanish.