Many people assume that once a convict or detainee heads to prison or detention center, his or her primary concern is simply attempting to prison life and working towards re-entering society. While these things are true, in a sense, the rights and privileges of prisoners and detainees are still a serious civil rights concern, especially when those rights get exploited or violated. For immigration detainees, this is especially troubling, because they often have fewer rights under the law in general.
Recently, two immigration detainees pushed back against what they believe is illegal treatment, bringing a lawsuit against the private facility holding them, alleging forced labor. A federal judge ruled that the lawsuit could continue.
According to the complaint, the company that operates the facility violated the rights of the detainees by forcing them to clean and maintain the grounds without any form of compensation. Furthermore, the complaint claims that the staff threatened to punish the detainees with solitary confinement if they refused to perform the work.
Should the lawsuit succeed, it may greatly change the ways that facilities like these may operate. Under the current system, those held in these facilities have little legal recourse to fight against such unfair treatment.
If you or someone you love faces similar unfair conditions in a prison or detention center, it is certainly worthwhile to look into all the available legal tools you have to fight back. You may find that there is more you can do to work towards justice and protecting the rights of those held in detention or incarcerated in America, including immigrants facing deportation.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, “Judge allows case over alleged forced labor in immigration detention to move forward,” Kate Morrissey, May 17, 2018