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A whistleblower complaint against President Trump sets off tug-of-war between Congress and the White House; and students around the world strike today to demand action on climate change.

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Climate change is a big issue this election season, and global climate strikes kick off, while UAW labor strikes continue.

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Demonstrators Call for End to Family Detentions

PHOTO: Human rights advocates gathered at the GEO Aurora Detention Facility calling for an end to the policy of locking families, including children, who are seeking asylum. Photo credit: Sean Ays.
PHOTO: Human rights advocates gathered at the GEO Aurora Detention Facility calling for an end to the policy of locking families, including children, who are seeking asylum. Photo credit: Sean Ays.
May 5, 2015

DENVER - Human rights advocates rallied over the weekend and held a candlelight vigil last night in Aurora calling for an end to the detention of families seeking asylum as refugees.

The demonstrations are part of a national week of action urging the Obama administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to end the practice of locking up women and children, mostly from Central America, seeking refuge from domestic violence, organized crime and gang violence.

Alison Haugen, organizer with the University of Denver Immigrant Rights Coalition, maintains it's impossible to detain a mother and child in a way that can be considered humane.

"There's no reason for these people to be detained," says Haugen. "They come here seeking protection in the United States. They're not criminals in their countries of origin. We just are asking the government end the system of detention of family and children."

After a wave of asylum-seeking immigrants hit the U.S./Mexico border last summer, ICE expanded the practice of detaining women and children. The Aurora site, originally commissioned to detain 150 people, now has the capacity to hold 1,500.

The detention center in Aurora is operated by the GEO Group, the second-largest for-profit prison operator in the U.S., behind Corrections Corporation of America. According to its website, GEO holds some 85,000 inmates at 106 locations in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa, and recorded more than $1.6-billion in revenues last year.

Haugen says mass detention is a costly policy for families and taxpayers.

"The GEO Aurora Detention Center, which is run by the for-profit prison company GEO Group, charges taxpayers about $100 a day to keep individuals detained there for immigration purposes," she says.

Haugen points out alternatives to detention, such as monitoring and ankle bracelets, are 96 percent effective at making sure individuals make their asylum hearings and cost less than $17 per day per family.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO