The editorial “Pay immigration detainees a fair wage” ignored contractual obligations required by the federal government.
The Voluntary Work Program is required at all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, regardless of whether it is operated directly by ICE or by a contractor.
In 2011, the Obama administration codified the program in the Performance-Based National Detention Standards, citing its purpose as to reduce idleness, improve morale and decrease disciplinary incidents.
Individuals at all facilities are paid by ICE for strictly voluntary activities pursuant to the statutory reimbursement rate set by Congress. Should the terms of ICE’s program be modified by the current administration or Congress, we will faithfully follow them.
Politically-motivated individuals understand that for three decades, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the federal government has relied on contractors to provide operational services at ICE processing centers, and attacking the contractors is part of a larger strategy to impact immigration policy.
The GEO Group does not take positions on, nor have we ever advocated for or against, any immigration enforcement policies, including laws that govern the detention of noncitizens.
Our employees always strive to treat all people entrusted to our care with compassion, dignity and respect.
David J. Venturella, Boca Raton, Florida, senior vice president, business development, GEO Group