Texas Group Calls for Wells Fargo to Divest From Private Prison Corporation GEO Group

Coalition Calls for Wells Fargo to Stop Profiting From the Private Immigration Detention Industry & End its Support of the Construction of a New Texas Detention Center

Austin, Texas – Austin-based coalition Texans United for Families will join community and labor groups in thirteen major cities nationwide on Friday, July 1st in protests against private detention company investments. Protestors are calling for major investors such as Wells Fargo to divest of their holdings in the private prison industry. Detention of immigrants will cost taxpayers billions of dollars this year only to produce profits for finance industry leaders, like Wells Fargo, that have invested in the growth of the private prison industry.

Wells Fargo currently holds over 3.5 million shares in GEO which is valued at $92 million. “The private prison industry relies on taxpayers for its income and then lobbies for policies that benefit its bottomline,” said Dave Kalloor of Texans United for Families. “Harsh immigrant incarceration policies and new detention centers, like one Karnes County, Texas, are some of the most lucrative policies for GEO and other private prison corporations.”

Participants in the protest will gather outside of the Wells Fargo located on 111 Congress Ave on Friday, July 1st from 12pm-1pm.

The July 1st date was chosen as a statement of solidarity with immigrants, their families and friends in Georgia. On this date the statewide anti-immigrant law, HB 87, will go into effect. Private prison companies such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group (of which Wells Fargo is a principal investor), as well as some of their major shareholders, made substantial contributions to politicians involved in passing this damaging legislation.

Wells Fargo’s support of the GEO Group is even more troubling in light of GEO’s history in Texas. GEO’s facilities include prisons, immigration detention centers, and juvenile detention centers where people have suffered from inadequate medical care and unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Deaths, riots, and hunger strikes at GEO’s facilities are indicative of GEO’s culture of cruelty and underscore the need to end construction of new GEO facilities.

GEO is currently constructing a new immigration detention center in Karnes County, Texas. “GEO and Wells Fargo profit from the detention and deportation system that separates families and tears our communities apart. Wells Fargo claims to support community-building and value ethics, yet they are investing in an industry with unethical practices that harm immigrants, people of color, and youth,” said Rocío Villalobos of Texans United for Families.

Texans United for Families, in partnership with community groups and unions across the USA, is calling on all public and private institutions to divest their holdings in the GEO Group and CCA, America’s largest private prison corporations that have profited from billions in taxpayer money. Wells Fargo and others should follow the lead of Pershing Square Capital Management which has already divested its holdings from CCA. Other major investors in the private prison industry include Wellington Management Company, Vanguard, General Electric, Fidelity and others.

Source: email from Bob Libal

Irma Muniz Takes 'Free Ramsey' Campaign to LULAC

Recent correspondence from Irma Muniz, including background on Ramsey, a note from federal prison, and announcement of a new blog to follow–gm

Dear Friends:

Tomorrow I will depart for Cincinnati to attend the LULAC National Convention. I am excited about the opportunity to share information about the case of Ramsey Muniz, and to increase my knowledge about others issues pertaining to our people.

Please go to our new blog at http://freeramsey.blogspot.com and click the Follow button on the left. The next screen will ask you to click on a service that you are registered in. There will be several buttons. If you have not registered in any of them, I recommend Google. You will need to LEAVE the blog site and go to Google to register for a login and then return to our blot to click Follow again. Click on a button and on the next screen, click Follow This Blog.

I will be at the convention through Sunday, and it is my hope to provide information on things that I encounter as well as things that I learn. If you are not successful in clicking the Follow button, just be sure to go to our blog on a regular basis for current information.

Irma Muniz

In the 1960s and 1970s, during America’s era of civil rights, Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz was a national Chicano leader who brought political awareness to the legislative power on behalf of the entire Southwest.

The contributions of Ramsey Muñiz are respected by many, as he contributed his time and talent to assist people. Through his activism and leadership in the political arena, he brought about positive changed for many, by giving them a voice and representation that previously were non-existent, and this improved the quality of life for many.

In the words of Geeta Mohan Gurnaney,

“In 1974 the Democratic Party co-opted Muñiz’s agenda to a large extent. In fact, since 1972 [Governor Dolph] Briscoe had appointed more Chicanos to state boards and commissions than every Texas governor in the 20th century combined. Also, the Democratic Party was fielding more Mexican-American candidates for public office than ever before. Even the Texas Rangers awarded scholarships for two Chicanos. Muñiz’s gubernatorial campaigns of 1972 and 1974 helped Chicanos gain greater visibility and representation in political circles, but ironically, these strides came at Muñiz’s expense in 1974.”

Today, Ramsey Muñiz, a leader during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, is serving a sentence of life without parole on false charges. He states, “I am 68 years old and after 18 years of suffering and devastating cruel imprisonment, I do not want to die in the prisons of America for a crime I did not commit. This imprisonment for life is the most punitive and atrocious injustice committed against me, my family, and all humanity.”

Ramsey Muñiz has served his time and his family seeks his immediate release! For additional information, visit www.freeramsey.com. Forward this information to civil rights organizations and to your senator and congressman or congresswoman, asking them to get involved in this humanitarian issue!

The excerpts below describe the impact made by the Ramsey Muñiz gubernatorial campaigns. They also describe the horror of imprisonment and suffering that followed, and continues today.

Please distribute and ask organizations, your senator, and congressman/congresswoman to become involved in this humanitarian issue seeking the immediate release of Ramsey Muniz!


“Muñiz’s gubernatorial campaigns of 1972 and 1974 were not simply politics as usual with a Chicano face. They couldn’t be because Muñiz was more than a Chicano politician trying to succeed in the Anglo political world. His 1972 and 1974 campaigns were an attempt to harness a latent power base that had long been either co-opted or ignored. Also, Muñiz was a symbol and a standard-bearer for Chicanos trying to gain power in an Anglo-dominated system without denying his Mexican heritage. Ultimately, His candidacy was a reminder that the history of Texas must include its Mexican legacy.”

Geeta Mohan Gurnaney, One Candidate, Two Approaches: the Ramsey Muñiz Gubernatorial Campaigns of 1972 and 1974.


We are now getting close to all of those that created history and its all coming back, and God knows why He has kept me alive knowing that for months and months I was chained and shackled and at times naked for days, weeks and not even counting the months. I would cry and scream yet I was so deep in those dungeons that no one would hear my cry for freedom, for justice, and the removal of the cold chains and shackles on my God-given body. Yes, God-given, because your father has shared with me that they were there, but it was time for me to journey into the spiritual world that is only for us that were destined from the time of their birth.

The message that I receive everyday from your father who is in heaven is that our lives have just begun!


Isenberg Hopeful ICE Memo will Change Dallas Immigration Enforcement

by Greg Moses

Immigrant advocate Ralph Isenberg is hopeful that a new federal memo on prosecutorial discretion will change the way things work in the Dallas area.

In a memo of June 17, 2011 Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton affirmed that ICE officers and attorneys share discretionary powers to determine the value of prosecuting individual cases.

“ICE must prioritize the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets to ensure that the aliens it removes represent, as much as reasonably possible, the agency’s enforcement priorities, namely the promotion of national security, border security, public safety, and the integrity of the immigration system,” said Morton in the background section of his six-page memo.

Isenberg, who has been an advocate for several immigrants, says that “all the cases I’m working on are going to have some meaningful relief coming, if the Morton memo is followed.”

Recently, Isenberg has been a public advocate for Saad Nabeel, a Texas college student who was deported to Asia; Olga Zanella, a young Dallas area resident who was threatened with deportation following a traffic violation; and Hector Lopez, an Oregon college student who was deported to Mexico, but who returned to the USA for a Christmas Eve reunion with his mother.

“Basically the memo says we don’t have the time to go after students, elderly, pregnant women, or people with medical problems,” said Isenberg on Sunday morning, speaking via telephone.

“Dallas says we can’t treat anyone special otherwise everyone gets to stay,” says Isenberg. “This memo says you will treat people different. It says that the elderly are important to this country. Minors are important. Kids who grew up here are important. Students are important. But if you’re a felon, you don’t count, get the hell out of here.”

Isenberg says he is waiting to see how ICE authorities in the Dallas office will respond to the memo.

“If the memo wasn’t intended for action, why release it?”

Deportation of Previously Deported Hits Record High in 2010

During fiscal year 2010 the Department of Homeland Security apprehended 517,000 foreign nationals, detained 363,000, removed 387,000, and “allowed” 476,000 to “to return to their home countries without an order of removal,” says an annual report issued on June 17 by the Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS).

Mexican nationals accounted for 83 percent of those apprehended, 73 percent of those removed, and 61 percent of those detained. Nationals from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador counted for 29 percent of detentions and 18 percent of removals.

Of the 387,000 removals, 29 percent were “expedited” by immigration officers without hearings. And 94 percent of expedited removals involved nationals from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador.

While total removals were down slightly compared to 2009 (387,242 v 395,165), expedited removals (111,118) in 2010 were near record levels (112,718) set in 2008.

Of the removed, 169,000 were counted as criminal aliens. And 62,000 of the criminal aliens were counted as violating immigration laws or traffic offenses.

130,840 removals were “reinstatements” of previous removal orders, accounting for 34 percent of all removals, up from 30 percent in 2009, continuing a trend in the rising number and percentage of “reinstatements” since 2005. The countries of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador account for 98 percent of the record number of removals via “reinstatement” during FY 2010.