Inside America's $2bn immigrant detention industry

Franz Strasser
The BBC Franz Strasser

Under President Barack Obama, the US has deported almost two million undocumented immigrants, more than any of his predecessors.

Before being kicked out of the US, most of these people will spend time locked up in a detention center. Some have criminal convictions, but the majority are detained on immigration charges.

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Former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., to receive JFK ‘Profile in Courage’ award

Many congrats to Mayor Paul Bridges who joined our lawsuit against Georgia's anti-immigrant law for this well-deserved recognition!

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced the two recipients of its annual Profile in Courage awards this afternoon.

One is well known – former President George H.W. Bush, who will be honored for breaking his no-new-taxes pledge.

But the bigger surprise is Paul Bridges, the former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., population 592 – give or take a few souls.

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By Ned Resnikoff

Just before the close of Georgia’s 2014 legislative session last week, the state’s General Assembly granted final approval to a law that would allow state workers to drug test food stamp recipients. The law, H.B. 772, now awaits the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican.

An earlier version of the bill would have made drug testing mandatory for all food stamp recipients, but members of the House changed the bill’s wording after a federal judge ruled that a similar law in Florida violated the Fourth Amendment. To avoid the same fate, H.B. 772 was rewritten to require “reasonable suspicion” that a food stamp recipient was using illegal drugs before caseworkers could order a drug test.

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11Alive Staff, WXIA

The University of Georgia men's basketball team must follow detailed rules when it comes to dating, as uncovered by the study, shows that Coach Mark Fox includes guidelines on sexual activities, appearances and social networking.

Included under the "Treat women with respect" heading are rules stating "Don't spend all your energy in bed all night," "Hicky's/passion marks should not ever be noticed by coaches" and "One. Not two or three girlfriends."

Social media networking rules state that anything the athletes write can be quote by the coach. Players are forbidden from Twitter unless they have written permission from Coach Fox.

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R. Robin McDonald, Daily Report

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia has sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation asking them to investigate two federal immigration detention centers in Georgia.

The ACLU based its request in the March 21 letter on a 2012 report it prepared on immigration detention in Georgia. The report documented the plight of what the ACLU says are thousands of individuals detained in U.S. immigration and customs enforcement detention facilities whose civil rights have been violated while incarcerated at two privately-run, for-profit centers in Irwin and Stewart counties.

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Sensible Policy, Not Smaller Handcuffs

By Nicole Kief, ACLU & Jennifer Bellamy, Washington Legislative Office

You may have heard recently about Dontadrian Bruce, the Mississippi high-school student who was almost expelled for holding up the number "3" with his fingers in a photo taken by his science teacher. Dontradian is number 3 on the football team – and despite his being an A/B student with no history of serious disciplinary problems, the school said he was making a gang sign.

This isn't the first time the school district has been quick to label a Black student a "gang member." And in fact the unnecessarily harsh treatment of students of color for misbehavior—or perceived misbehavior—at school is a huge problem across the country. Too many young people are being pushed out of school and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems instead of given the chance to learn from their mistakes. This phenomenon is frequently referred to as the school-to-prison-pipeline.

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To Flee Abuse, Immigrants Need to Keep Car Keys

By Azadeh N. Shahshahani
WeNews commentator
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Georgia lawmakers just held back a crazy bill that would have removed drivers' licenses from a group of immigrants, including women fleeing abusive relationships. Many young female DREAMers are also hugely relieved.

The Georgia state legislature closed its session on March 20 and many immigrant women here heaved a sigh of relief. A trip to the grocery store or work or school won't mean risking arrest.

Hard to believe, but a small group of state lawmakers here recently tried to take away drivers' licenses from a group of people in the state with "deferred action" status under federal immigration procedures.

Those at risk included DREAMers with work permits under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and certain other people, including victims of domestic violence, with deferred action status granted for other reasons.

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The Dream Will Never Die

Strategies to End the New Jim Crow

The primary mission of this Conference is to continue the building of a broad based Coalition that will develop strategies collectively on the approaches necessary to END the New Jim Crow in Georgia & the United States. Becoming increasingly organized locally will contribute more to the growing national movement to STOP MASS INCARCERATION.

For more information

The ACLU of Georgia Seeks Congressional Investigation of Two Immigration Detention Facilities

The ACLU of Georgia has been joined by dozens of other local and national groups in seeking a Congressional investigation of two of the worst immigration detention facilities in the country, Stewart and the Irwin County Detention Center. This request comes in the face of inaction of ICE to recommendations in our May 2012 report, “Prisoners of Profit: Immigrants and Detention in Georgia.” You can find the letter to the Georgia Congressional delegation here.

ACLU Sues Haralson County School District for Violating Free Speech Rights of Employee

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia and the Kendall Law Group, cooperating attorneys for the ACLU of Georgia, have filed a lawsuit challenging the unlawful termination of Johnny Cook. Mr. Cook was fired for expressing concerns on his personal Facebook profile that a child was left hungry and denied lunch at school. He joined a national debate focused on the well-being of children and adequacy of school lunch policies. When Mr. Cook refused to allow his voice, thoughts, property, and image to be hijacked, commandeered, censored, and illegally appropriated by the Haralson County school system, he was fired.

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Politics still makes strange bedfellows under Gold Dome

By Kyle Wingfield
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Which of these groups does not belong with the others: the ACLU, the tea party, Common Cause or Americans for Prosperity?

If you think they could all fit in a coalition under the Gold Dome, give yourself a peach-colored star.

This era is known for its polarization in Washington, and Georgians on the left and the right certainly have their differences about how state legislators should address certain issues. But unlike in national politics, diverse coalitions still can and do emerge on high-profile state issues.

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Tide May be Turning on Medical Cannabis in Georgia Legislature

January 15, 2014

Gloria Tatum
Atlanta Progressive News

The tide appears to be turning in Georgia with regard to the issue of medical cannabis, or marijuana, after two leading Republican lawmakers in the State Legislature expressed their openness to the idea of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes in Georgia.

As first reported by WSB-TV Channel 2, on January 07, 2014, Republican State Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) called for hearings on medical marijuana; then, on January 09, House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) told Channel 2 he would be open to the idea.

"I have some concerns about it quite frankly but I think, let's take the politics out of it, and look at the science and hear the medical professionals,” Ralston said.

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With Drug Tests for Florida Welfare Recipients On Hold, Georgia Waits

Lisa George
90.1 WABE

Georgia public policy players are watching Florida closely now that a federal judge there has struck down the state’s law requiring drug testing for welfare recipients.

A U.S. District judge ruled the Florida law violates the Constitutional provision against unreasonable searches. Georgia has had a similar law on the books since 2012, but it has not yet been implemented.

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ACLU of Georgia sends letters to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights experts requesting a meeting to discuss immigration detention conditions in Georgia

In light of the inaction of the federal government and for-profit prison corporations in the face of documented human rights violations, the ACLU of Georgia sent letters to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Rapporteur on the Rights of People Deprived of Liberty and the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, requesting a meeting to discuss immigration detention conditions in Georgia.

You can find the letters here and here.

Proposal Would put 10 Commandments Outside Ga. Capitol

A South Georgia lawmaker will propose next month a bill that would allow the construction of a monument outside the Georgia Capitol featuring the 10 Commandments.

Vidalia Republican Rep. Greg Morris wants the monument to be built where the statue of former Sen. Tom Watson used to be.

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The ACLU of Georgia National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project is celebrating its fifth anniversary!

Founded in March 2008, the project works to bring Georgia into compliance with international human rights and U.S. constitutional standards in treatment of refugees and immigrant communities, including those in detention. This project engages ACLU of Georgia staff and volunteers in litigation, legislative advocacy, human rights documentation, coalition-building, public education, attorney training, and community organizing to address a range of issues. Here you can find a few of our accomplishments over the past five years.

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