ACLU Submits Amicus Brief in Support of Immigrant Workers Detained at Golden State Annex Facility

December 14, 2023 2:08 pm

SAN FRANCISCO — The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU Foundation of Northern California, and ACLU Foundation of Southern California today filed an amicus brief in In Re GEO Group, Inc. d/b/a Golden State Annex, a legal challenge against the GEO Group, Inc. for health and safety violations against detained immigrant workers at the Golden State Annex detention facility. In the first ruling of its kind, the California State Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (CAL/OSH) cited and fined GEO for failing to provide adequate workplace safety protections for detained immigrant workers, who are paid $1/day by the corporation. The private prison corporation appealed the ruling.

The ACLU’s brief argues the immigrant workers should not be excluded from the appeals process. The brief argues that an administrative law judge erred in concluding that the detained immigrant workers are “prisoners,” and are thus cannot participate in an appeal before the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board.

“For too long, GEO Group has operated with little public oversight and accountability, and have exploited detained immigrant workers, with no regard for their health and safety,” said Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Prison Project. “It’s time that GEO Group is finally held accountable. These immigrant workers should have the opportunity to defend their claims and ensure they receive the justice they deserve.

The brief also argues that people in immigration detention face heightened risks of retaliation and should therefore be allowed to remain anonymous throughout the appeals proceedings. The ACLU and government investigators have previously documented numerous incidents of medical neglect, sexual abuse, suicide attempts, and uses of solitary confinement as retaliation in facilities run by GEO Group.

The amicus brief is available here.

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