BIG BANKS: INVEST IN THE PEOPLE, DUMP YOUR PRIVATE PRISON STOCK #Jan24DIVEST

MEDIA ADVISORY: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

BIG BANKS: INVEST IN THE PEOPLE, DUMP YOUR PRIVATE PRISON STOCK

Protesters Call on Wall Street Investors & Wells Fargo Bank for Profiting on Immigrant Detention

What:               Occupiers and Immigrant Advocates Protest at the GAIM USA Conference demanding financial institutions divest from for-profit prisons like CCA and GEO. National Day of Action in 14 other cities.

When:               Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Where:             Boca Raton Resort & Club, 501 East Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432

Who:                 Enlace, Occupy Palm Beach, Occupy Miami, Florida Immigrant Coalition, PICO Florida, National People’s Action

Miami, FL – Occupiers and immigrant advocates will converge on the GAIM USA Conference to demand that major financial institutions divest their holdings in the for-profit prison industry. Protesters in 14 major cities around the country will rally at local branches of Wells Fargo Bank and FMR/Fidelity to demand that they abandon their roles in the nation’s rapidly expanding for-profit immigrant detention system.

The GAIM USA conference is the largest annual gathering of hedge funds and large institutional investment managers in the USA.  Major investors in private prisons who will be participating include: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, General Electric, Vanguard, FMR/Fidelity, BlackRock, Lazard, and others.

These financial institutions are major investors in CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and GEO, the nation’s two largest for-profit companies with very close ties to Florida: the GEO Group has its headquarters in Boca Raton, and CCA has plans to build a controversial immigration prison in Southwest Ranches, FL, which could be one of the largest detention centers in the country.

Over the past three years, hundreds of thousands of immigrants have been subjected to abusive treatment in for-profit prisons run by the Geo Group (GEO) and Corrections of America (CCA) for the federal government. Enlace is coordinating the National Prison Divestment Campaign that is asking institutions, public and private, to divest their holdings and cut all political ties from the private prison industry.

For-profit prison companies, which rely on billions of tax dollars as their source of revenue, have aggressively lobbied federal and state governments to adopt and implement policies that have led to the incarceration of over one million immigrants over the past three years. Recent reports by the Houston Chronicle and PBS showed that rape and sexual abuse of detainees is rampant across the increasingly privatized federal immigrant detention system.

Wells Fargo, a recipient of billions of bailout dollars, is a major contributor to politicians who have championed the increased incarceration of immigrants. Wells Fargo is a major share holder in GEO and has also played a key role supporting its business ventures.

Peter Cervantes-Gautschi stated “The United Methodist Church divested its entire holdings from CCA and GEO; these investors should follow the UMC’s responsible investment example. It is immoral to make millions from putting human beings in cages.” The UMC Pension is one of the largest faith-based pension funds in the United States and ranks among the top 100 pension funds in the country. A prominent hedge fund, Pershing Square Management Fund, divested its over $180 million in CCA holdings after the launch of the Prison Divestment Campaign last year.

Since the divestment campaign began on May 12, 2011. CCA’s stock value dropped from $26.02 to $20.67, a 21% drop at year’s end.  Geo Group stock has taken a similar plunge, from a high of $26.12 on May 12 to $16.75 on December 31, a drop of over 34%. The campaign has hammered steadily at Geo through one of its major investors, Wells Fargo.

Media Contacts

National: Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, Enlace (503) 705-3343

Florida: Natalia Jaramillo, Florida Immigrant Coalition (786) 317-3524

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