The U.S. government does not allow U.S. companies to hire illegal immigrants in America, but relies on 60,000 undocumented immigrants to provide labor at federal detention centers where they are held after being caught by the Border Patrol.
The federal government pays the immigrants 13 cents an hour, or about $1 a day (a rate that was set back in 1950), reports The New York Times. Some immigrants are not even paid money, but are reimbursed with candy bars or soda.
If normal American businesses do this, they can be prosecuted and go to jail. Reginald Wayne Miller was recently arrested after allegedly paying foreign students $50 a week for 40 hours of work, which is more than the U.S. government pays.
According to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), this work program is voluntary, legal and saves taxpayer dollars.
The U.S. government and private prison companies, which own some detention centers, save more than $40 million a year by not paying Americans $7.25 per hour for the same jobs.
RT.com reports that in Houston and San Francisco detention centers, undocumented immigrants prepare meals for other jails in the area, even though these immigrants have not been convicted of a crime (video below).
The immigrants are imprisoned until their case is reviewed by an immigration judge. Half of the immigrants are allowed to stay by immigration judges.
“I went from making $15 an hour as a chef [in California, Minnesota and North Carolina] to $1 a day in the kitchen in lockup,” Pedro Guzman told The New York Times. “And I was in the country legally.”
Back in April, a lawsuit filed on behalf of undocumented immigrants by the ACLU accused federal immigration authorities in Tacoma, Wash., of placing immigrants in solitary confinement after they stopped working and went on a hunger strike.