Because of its significant investments in private prisons which profit from immigration detention, IRATE & First Friends board of trustees has decided that it can no longer, in good conscience, bank with Wells Fargo. We simple cannot excuse the inherent immorality of providing financial benefit to some through the creation of suffering for so many. We urge our associates & partner organizations to do the same. Below is the letter that was sent to the Wells Fargo branch in Elizabeth.
For more info on Wells Fargo & private prisons go towww.enlaceintl.com
Dear [Branch Manager]:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that we have closed our account and removed our funds from your branch. Our organization can no longer, in good conscience, bank with Wells Fargo.
Despite pressure from advocates for prison reform, immigrant rights and faith based groups, Wells Fargo continues to be an active participant in the for-profit prison system with significant investments in Corrections Corp of America, the company that owns and runs the Elizabeth Detention Center, and the GEO Group which owns Delaney Hall. The recent release of public bid documents also revealed that Wells Fargo is a financial advisor to Community Education Centers (CEC), the private corrections company which profits from a contract to incarcerate ICE detainees at Delaney Hall.
The people who are held at immigration detention facilities include long-time residents of our local communities. Many are the primary breadwinners or caregivers for their families. Their detention splits apart families and removes laborers and consumers from the local economy.
For over a decade, IRATE & First Friends has advocated for an end to the mass detention of immigrants, the use of alternatives to detention and the improvement of conditions for those currently in immigration detention. Since 1997, First Friends has managed a visitor’s service at the Elizabeth Detention Center and has recently begun visitor’s services for immigrant detainees at both the Hudson and Bergen County jails and Delaney Hall.
Throughout this time we have witnessed the neglect and abuse that result from the conflicting interests of caring for human beings in custody and providing returns to investors. Conditions in these facilities are shockingly inhumane. Unsanitary and unsafe conditions including lack of access to medical treatment, substandard food, and physical and verbal abuse from staff and guards are pervasive.
We simply cannot excuse the inherent immorality of providing financial benefit to some through the creation of suffering for many. We urge Wells Fargo to divest from private prisons and to cease providing support or advice to such an immoral enterprise. In the interim, we will urge our associates and partner organizations to remove funds from Wells Fargo as well.