For Immediate Release

On July 13, 2022, nine plaintiffs filed suit in federal court against The GEO Group, Inc., a private prison corporation contracted by the federal government to detain immigrants. Plaintiffs are suing to stop violations of California’s Labor Code, including its minimum wage provisions, and forced labor in violation of State and federal laws against trafficking. The complaint asserts six causes of action under California and federal law and seeks damages and injunctive relief. The plaintiffs also seek to certify the case as a class action.  The complaint is here.

“GEO should not be allowed to profit from its ICE contract by forcing detained immigrants to undertake basic sanitation work necessary to run the facilities and paying them only $1 per day in violation of California’s minimum wage laws and other stringent labor protections,” said Gay Grunfeld, plaintiffs’ attorney.

“People in immigration custody cannot be forced to work under established precedent, yet GEO forces our clients to clean its detention facilities under threat of segregation and deprivation of basic necessities,” said Priya Patel, plaintiffs’ attorney.

“GEO is incentivized to obtain free labor from the people it detains and force them to pay excessive prices for food, phones, and other necessities. Our lawsuit seeks to stop these practices at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center and the Golden State Annex,” said Lisa Knox, plaintiffs’ attorney.

The case is Hernandez Gomez et al. v. The GEO Group, Inc., United States District Courtfor the Eastern District of California No. 1:22-cv-00868-BAK (EPG). Plaintiffs Jose Ruben Hernandez Gomez, Salesh Prasad, Guillermo Medina Reyes, Edgar Sanchez, Adan Castillo Merino, Ivan Oliva Sierra, Fidel Garcia, Isaac Cardona Hernandez, and Pedro Jesus Figueroa Padilla are represented by Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP of San Francisco, Centro Legal deLa Raza of Oakland, and California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, also of Oakland.

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Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld
(415) 433-6830

Priya Arvind Patel
(650) 762-8990

Lisa V. Knox
(510) 230-6746

Selected media coverage:

Immigrant detainees at two Central Valley immigration detention centers sue over wages, Fresno Bee, July 14, 2022

ICE detainees making $1 a day sue over alleged wage theft, KQED, July 16, 2022