Afternoon headlines February 28, 2017

For the first time in history, a federal court has allowed a group of immigrant detainees to jointly proceed with forced labor claims against the country’s second-largest private prison provider, GEO Group.

Individuals in the class action  lawsuit claim they were forced to clean the prison without pay and under the threat of solitary confinement. This allowed the detention center to save costs and maximize profits. They only had one custodial employee for a prison that houses 1,500 people at one time.

Nina DiSalvo, Executive Director of Towards Justice, a nonprofit legal group, in a statement says immigration is too often driven by profit motives. She says the ruling allows vulnerable detainees to hold GEO accountable for profiting off the backs of captive laborers.

The lawsuit represents 50-60,000 people who have been detained at the GEO detention center in Aurora, Colorado since 2004. Some individuals were found to have legal residence in the United States after months of being detained.

Andrew Turner who works for the Kelman Buescher Law Firm, which represents the plaintiffs, says that by allowing tens of thousands of individuals to combine their claims, they are able to take on a multinational corporation like GEO.

Yesterday the Colorado State House Committee on Education approved a bill that would allow Colorado students to get an additional credential on their high school diploma saying they are fluent in two or more languages.

Students would be required to prove they have a mastery of English and another language by getting at least a B in their language classes, getting high marks in the English portion of the SATs, and pass an English and foreign language test by either Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate programs.

Some districts already have their own credential process, but the State Board of Education last year rejected a resolution to encourage more schools across the state to provide one. Critics worried there wasn’t enough of a statewide criteria, and credentials would be handed out unevenly.

The bill has already passed the Senate and will be debated in the State House before potentially going to the governor’s desk.


Yesterday hundreds of Trump supporters gathered at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver to show their support for the president. Crowd estimates vary from 200-400 attendees, but the size was significantly smaller than recent anti-Trump rallies held in Denver.  There were chants of “Lock Her Up” and “Drain the Swamp”. There was also talk in support of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and Making America Great Again.

Devin Camacho is 19 years old, and chairman of the Otero County Republican Party. He told Colorado Politics that as a millennial his main concern is about jobs, and regulations stand in the way. He says he believes Trump will clear a path making it easier to get jobs. He adds that the Democrats use minority groups as pawns, and as a Hispanic he doesn’t like his heritage being used for political gain.

State Representative Tim Neville from Littleton, spoke to the crowd, urging them to move away from political labels and focus on the conservative values that drew them to the Tea Party and Trump. He said he didn’t get into politics to make the state more Republican, but to bring back liberty and constitutional governing.

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