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Thursday, April 21, 2011

This article originally published as RAP STANDS UP TO PRIVATE PRISONS, ILLEGAL DETENTIONS on Technorati by Tim Paynter
“My husband has cancer. I had to decide if I was going to renew my license tags or buy food for my children. I bought food. ...I was detained by a patrol car for expired stickers. …When the police pulled me over, I knew I was going to be arrested, because the first thing he asked me was if I was in this country illegally.”

"Jeanette has lived in Colorado since 1997 with her family. This May she will confront her last court date and may face deportation."

Jenny, who has been a Rock of Gibraltar for Rights for All People (RAP), an organization which battles for basic human rights in Colorado, now finds herself fighting to remain with her children in the US. Jenny was kept in a private prison-for-profit operated by GEO Corp for 34 horrible days. Putting people in jail in facilities operated by private contractors hides the true cost of imprisonment since GEO fronts the money to build the facility and then makes it back on a per-bed occupied basis.

Allowing private contractors to imprison those residing under American skies has always been controversial since the government is delegating it’s power to abrogate liberty. What makes the prison industry evil is their advocacy for additional incarceration. In order to fill their beds, companies lobby legislatures to pass stringent bills which require the jailing of harmless people.

Jenny is not a run risk, she is exactly where she wants to be. She is not a risk to society as she has never committed a violent crime. Yet, due to increased immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) actions, including the connection between local police and ICE called secure communities, a record number of immigrants found themselves detained and in deportation proceedings last year. As the Obama administration calls for immigration reform, ICE has stepped up it’s enforcement and deportation efforts bragging about deporting the largest number of undocumented workers in history last year.

RAP says Wells Fargo Bank, which markets services to the Hispanic community, has a large ownership interest in GEO. Hence, when Hispanics make a buck for Wells Fargo, they are putting money into the pockets of GEO, since the bank allegedly urges clients to invest in the private prison company. The injustice of making money over the misery of others cuts against constitutional guarantees.

Organizers at RAP have scheduled a community meeting for Thursday, April 28th, 2011, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Aurora West College Prep Academy 10100 East 13th Avenue in Aurora Colorado. Lisa Duran, RAP’s leader, asks those who want to know about the connections between private prisons, corporate sponsors and lobbying for increased detentions, please attend. There will be Spanish/English translators.

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We are at a place in history when we must take action.  We, as a community of activists, as a community of Hispanics, as a community of undocumented workers, no longer have the luxury to be bystanders.  The only solution is action and leadership.

Many of us never dreamed we would be placed into positions of leadership.  Yet, our destiny calls to those who have have a conscience and see grave injustices passing in this country!  That forces people of conscience to stand up and take action!  We are first and always a peaceful movement.  But we are a movement and while we move deliberately and slowly, we move. 

Please come join us, please join RAP and help return justice to this great land!

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