October 11, 2019
California’s legislature has passed a law that would end the use of private prison companies in the state. If Governor Newson signs the law, California would join Illinois in eliminating for profit companies from detaining immigrants. This would be a huge victory! But we need the governor to sign the bill. Everyone can chime in on Twitter and social media. If you live in California, make a call too. If you don’t, forward this to someone who does - we all know someone in California, right?
Below is an action alert from California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance:
California Governor Gavin Newsom only has a few days left to sign AB32, a bill which would shut down private immigrant jails in California.
On the heels of HB2040 in Illinois, California’s AB32, builds momentum towards dismantling the profit motives that are deeply intertwined with mass incarceration and immigration detention. The groundbreaking legislation will ban the use of private immigrant jails in California starting in the New Year, eventually entirely phasing out their use in the state.
What’s next? The bill is awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature to go into effect.
Take action: Call and tweet at the governor to ensure he signs asap!
- Tweet at Governor Newsom to sign AB32 and support the liberation of immigrants in private detention using @gavinnewsom, @cagovernor, #SignAB32, #CommunityNotCages
- Share Raul’s story highlighting the need for alternatives to incarceration!
- Make a call to (916) 445-2841
- Script: “Hello, my name is ____. I am calling to urge Governor Newsom to sign AB32. California needs to take a bold stance AGAINST abusive, for-profit companies that target people of color and immigrant communities.”
- More info: Follow CIYJA and ICIJ on Facebook and Instagram.
Trying to shut down the Northwest Processing Center (And GEO Group) in Tacoma, WA
Activists in Tacoma, Washington are trying to get the Tacoma City Council to close the Northwest Processing Center run by GEO Group, one of the largest private prison contractors in the country. The campaign in Tacoma is trying to get the council to revoke GEO Group’s license to operate in Tacoma; the City Council thus far is claiming there is little they can do. From Crosscut in Washington,
Unlike other cities with detention facilities, Tacoma does not have a contract with ICE or GEO Group, Blocker said. The city council, he said, never provided authority to open the facility or voted in favor of it. One council member, Blocker said, wrote a letter in support of the facility. Other than that, the city simply provides a business license.
Loretta Cool, spokesperson for the Tacoma Police Department, said approximately 300 calls to 911 have come from the facility from 2018 to date. Most calls are for medical help. Police have responded to about 25 assaults, including sexual assaults, as well as several suicide attempts, Cool said.
In 2017, lawyers for GEO Group responded to a letter from Tacoma’s previous mayor — Marilyn Strickland — assuring her and other city officials that the company “will not engage in any activities that constitute violations of any local, state and federal laws.”
But Anita Gallagher, assistant to the city manager, concedes the facility should be inspected more regularly and that city officials have little knowledge of its day-to-day operations.
“We don’t even have visibility in that facility aside from the structured tours,” Gallagher said.
At the state level, legislation was introduced to ban private contractors from Washington State, but it failed in the last legislative session (it was never voted on - never moved from committee). A new version will almost certainly be introduced. In the meantime, pressure continues on the Council - and hey -they should at least inspect the place, right? Unannounced.
The Council has blocked efforts by GEO Group to expand the facility - GEO sued, claiming the facility is an “essential public facility” and the city could not block its expansion. Courts have sided with the city thus far, but GEO is expected to appeal.
As far as pulling the license goes, as one city council member put it, GEO Group’s budget is probably larger than the City of Tacoma’s. So far, the council doesn't seem willing to take on that fight - but people are still pushing.