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Minneapolis protest demands Wells Fargo divest from for-profit prisons jailing immigrant children

By staff |
November 9, 2015
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Minneapolis immigrant rights protesters target Wells Fargo Bank.
Minneapolis immigrant rights protesters target Wells Fargo Bank. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - More than 20 immigrant rights protesters marched into Wells Fargo Bank on Nicollet Avenue and Lake Street on Nov. 7. They held signs inside the bank then presented their demands to a regional bank manager. They demanded that Wells Fargo divest all money from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group.

These are the corporations that run the for-profit prisons that are jailing thousands of Central American children and mothers in Dilley and Karnes, Texas. Since summer 2014 thousands of children have fled violence and poverty in Central America and made the dangerous journey through Mexico into Texas to seek asylum. But upon arrival they have been imprisoned in Texas under terrible conditions and threatened with deportation, even though most have credible asylum claims and therefore by law shouldn’t be deported.

A federal judge has twice ordered the Obama administration to stop imprisoning children seeking asylum. But the administration continues to delay complying with the judge’s orders, while shuffling some of the children to another prison in Pennsylvania.

A large amount of CCA and GEO Group’s profits come from jailing immigrants. According to reports, Wells Fargo holds millions of dollars of stock in CCA, and a smaller amount in GEO Group. Reports also state that Wells Fargo has a line of credit of more than $700 million with CCA and is the bookkeeper for $300 million of GEO Group’s corporate debt.

After presenting their demand to the bank manager that Wells Fargo divest all money from CCA and GEO Group and stop profiting from the jailing of refugee children, the protesters returned outside and vowed to continue the campaign to end family detention until all children seeking asylum are freed.

The protest was organized by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC). It was part of a national week of action to #EndFamilyDetention initiated by the Legalization for All Network.