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Court Rules Immigrant Detainees Should Be Paid Minimum Wage

Court Rules Immigrant Detainees Should Be Paid Minimum Wage

A federal jury has found that immigrant detainees that are paid $1 a day are being exploited, and must be paid minimum wage. The Washington state detention center is not exempt from rules applied to federal prisons because it is a private, for-profit facility, not a “state, county or municipal” detention facility. The Washington state hourly minimum wage of $13.69

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued The GEO Group, saying “Washington will not tolerate corporations that get rich violating the rights of the people.”

The jury on the case will consider how much the immigrant detainees who worked at the for-profit detention facility are owed. The amount is expected to be millions of dollars and will be paid to immigration detainees who perform tasks like cooking and cleaning. U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan will determine what The GEO Group must pay the state of Washington for the company unjustly enriching itself. A separate lawsuit has been filed on behalf of detainees seeking back pay.

Lawsuits have been brought on behalf of immigration detainees at for-profit detention facilities in other states. The Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Way Forward Act, a bill that will close all ICE detention centers in the state.

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