It has been reported that detained immigrants are being paid $1 a day while held in privately run detention centers awaiting deportation.
Northwestern University Professor Jacqueline Stevens sums it up quite nicely:
"People who are being detained only while they await an immigration court audience and not for punitive reasons are being forced to work for a dollar a day and this not only seems to violate the minimum wage laws, but also the 13th Amendment against slavery."
The Obama administration counters that these programs are voluntary and that when an individual is confined their labor does not constitute employment.
The ACLU of Georgia begs to differ explaining that food provided in detention centers is substandard and that detained immigrants work so that they are able to supplement their diet with food purchased from the in-prison vendor, as well as to purchase telephone cards to be able to keep in touch with loved ones. As such, their "employment" is a necessity, and is anything but voluntary.
Anyone else see the irony in the fact that many/most of these immigrants are in detention facing deportation because they did not have authorization to work, and yet the Obama administration permits them to be hired at a slave's wage to do a job that a Citizen could be doing at a reasonable rate of pay? To add to the cruel irony is the fact that the dollar a day they are being paid ends up going right back into the pockets of their captors.
And why is this happening you may ask? Profit of course.
In the words of the fictional Gordan Gekko: "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
More "Change" you can believe in.
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Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).